The Karnataka government plans to ban hookah bars, cigarettes, and other tobacco products for people under the age of 21. Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao has announced this change, which will involve amending the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
Minister Rao is working with local organizations and the police department to enforce this ban and combat drug consumption in hookah bars. He has emphasized that this ban specifically targets the sale of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21. Furthermore, the sale of such products in public areas, including schools, colleges, hospitals, childcare centers, healthcare facilities, temples, mosques, and parks, is entirely prohibited, with a comprehensive focus on curbing drug-related activities in these spaces.
Minister Rao has revealed plans to amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) to encompass a comprehensive ban on the consumption and sale of various tobacco products like Hookah, extending beyond just cigarettes. He stressed the critical need to address the alarming trend of youth addiction to drugs, asserting that these substances were jeopardizing their future.
Rao stated, “Today’s youth are losing their precious future by being addicted to drugs. In this background, we have taken a firm decision to root out illegal activities. After consuming tobacco, youths were attracted to drugs and substance abuse. Tobacco use laid the foundation for all this.”
Minister Rao also announced plans to raise the minimum age for tobacco consumption. He proposed a revision to the existing law, suggesting that individuals above 18 years of age would be eligible to purchase tobacco products. Additionally, Rao expressed his intention to amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) to permit tobacco consumption only for those above 21 years of age.