Tightening the noose around those involved in the commercial use of banned hookahs and associated products, the Panchkula police have registered 39 FIRs and arrested 77 persons since April. Out of the 39 cases, 28 were registered at the Sector 5 police station. Residents claim the commercial use of hookah is still rampant in Panchkula since pubs remain open throughout the night.
Police data reveals that cops have seized hookahs and associated products from 39 different clubs and lounges in the city.
A resident rued, “The state government policy allowing bars and pubs to remain open late at night is a reason why the illegal practice continues.” Bars and pubs in the city that have the necessary permission are allowed to stay open till six in the morning.
The orders issued by Deputy Commissioner of Police Sumer Pratap Singh note that hookahs served with tobacco containing nicotine are considered highly injurious to the consumer’s health. The smoke of flavoured hookahs contains various toxicants, including carbon monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), volatile aldehydes and heavy metals, and it could result in cardiovascular diseases (COs), lung diseases (volatile aldehydes) and cancer (PAH and heavy metals) for the users.
The smoke from hookahs can cause ciliary damage, increase the viscosity of secretions, reduce muco-ciliary clearance and thus increase the risk of perioperative pulmonary complications.
Police officials say they have arrested bar owners in many cases. The owner of a bar in Sector 9 was arrested after the police seized five illegal hookahs with herbal molasses from his establishment in September. In the same month, the police arrested three owners of a bar and restaurant in Sector 5 after three hookahs and seven boxes of flavours were seized from the site. More arrests have been made at various bars in the city.
Sector 5 police station SHO Radhe Sham said, “We have clamped down on the use of illegal hookahs at pubs and bars. The banned products will no longer be used anywhere in the city.”
Panchkula city ACP Surinder Kumar said, “While confiscating hookahs, we registered FIRs and arrested the bar owners. It has become a major deterrent.” He added, “People ought to understand the health hazards associated with the use of hookahs. Police patrolling continues late into the night.”