Mumbai: Hookah bars have been forced to shut down in Mumbai after the city's Mayor, Shubha Raul declared them to be more harmful than cigarettes.
They've begun shutting down after Raul said that the nicotine content in hookah was high.
So after Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss took filmstars to task for promoting smoking in films, it’s now the Mumbai Mayor's turn to turn on the heat on hookah bars for allegedly serving tobacco and nicotine based products to minors.
"I'm here not just as the mayor but also as a concerned parent. Smoking hookah is dangerous for youngsters. There is no way to regulate the amount of nicotine," says Raul.
Although hookah contains a very small amount of nicotine, it's the charcoal smoke that is most dangerous.
Inhaling charcoal smoke and unburnt carbon particles can damage the lungs and have been proved to be even more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
But young Mumbaikars are divided on the issue.
"It's my life and my choice," says a youngster and is supported by another who adds, "Government shouldn't go about presuming they can make personal decisions for people."
But there are some who feel that the decision to shut down hookah bars is a good step.
"Yes, it's a good idea as many people get addicted to hookah."
Although the hookah bars are being shut down for the moment, Raul now plans to come up with a concrete plan of action against them after consulting the Health Department and the Food & Drug Administration.
(With inputs from Sijo Jose)