Kamala Mills incidence was a clarion call for the party goers – boycott joints that serve killer hookah!

While the government has failed to curb the mushrooming of the hookah culture, the users are to be blamed equally. Hookah users are not only killing themselves but also innocent people around them through fire hazard and second hand smoke. I would urge all hookah users to shun the usage of this ‘killer apparatus” and boycott such parlors! Those not using hookah, must protest and ensure that hookah is not served. Hookah bars continue to operate illegally despite the legislative restrictions. The bars obtain license for running an eatery, and start serving hookahs as an accompaniment to target youth.

This also serves as a wakeup call for the law enforcers. They must ensure that the smoking and serving of all forms of hookah in the restaurant, pubs, bars, café, lounge and the like are prohibited as per the law.

In a shocking incidence, fourteen people including 11 women, most of them in their 20s and early 30s, died of suffocation and several others injured in a huge fire that started from a restaurant serving hookah in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills compound. The serving of hookah in the bars/restaurants, that have very little fire safety standards and no separate Fire Exit, continues to be a grave safety hazards.

Hookah are more dangerous than Cigarettes –

Hookah are becoming very popular among youth. Most upmarket pubs are offering it as a “cool” stuff. Many hookah smokers believe that smoking a hookah carries less risk of tobacco-related disease than cigarette smoking.

Hookah users take longer pulls that are held for a longer duration, all of which leads to increased exposure to the carcinogenic smoke. A one-hour session of hookah can be as harmful as smoking 100 cigarettes, one hookah sessions delivers 25 times the tar of a single cigarette. Additional dangers not encountered with cigarette smoking are infectious diseases resulting from pipe sharing and the frequent addition of alcohol or psychoactive drugs to the tobacco.

Published by Prof Pankaj Chaturvedi

Deputy Director, Center for Cancer Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai. Professor, Department of Head Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai

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