Russia to ban hookah smoking in public

Russia to ban hookah smoking in publicMoscow, Nov 10 - Russian lawmakers have submitted a bill seeking a ban on hookah smoking in public places. The concentration of harmful substances in hookah smoke is considered a hundred times higher than in cigarette smoke, RIA Novosti reported.

The bill, submitted by lawmakers from St. Petersburg, stipulates a fine of up to 1,500 rubles ($50) for individuals and up to 30,000 rubles for officials who smoke hookahs in public places.

Smoking hookahs is becoming increasingly popular among the youth in Europe and the US. Hookahs, also known as shishas, are considered safer as smoke is filtered through water before being inhaled.

St. Petersburg legislature Speaker Vadim Tulpanov said that contrary to popular belief among waterpipe smokers, the concentration of harmful substances in shisha smoke is hundreds of times higher than in cigarette smoke.

Tatyana Yakovleva, a senior lawmaker of the United Russia faction in the Duma, said the bill may get enough support in parliament.

She said non-smokers should be protected from passive shisha smoke, which has an effect similar to passive cigarette smoke.

World Heath Organization studies said that even after passing through water, tobacco smoke still contains high levels of toxic compounds. Hookah smoking also delivers significant levels of nicotine, the main addictive substance in tobacco. (IANS)