Panaji: (IANS) Goa is mulling a ban on smoking on its beaches from October, an official said yesterday.
“We are planning a law which will include beaches in the list of public places where smoking will be banned,” deputy director of tourism department Pamela Mascarenhas said.
“The tourism department has decided to ban hookahs in beach shacks from the next season. We’ve put a clause in the terms and conditions of shack allotment that will prohibit use of hookahs,” Mascarenhas said.
The Miramar beach located on the outskirts of Panaji will be the first where the ban will be imposed.
“We are starting with Miramar. Awareness is more important... If we start off with the most popular Calangute beach and ban smoking there, there will be chaos. Hence, we have chosen the relatively less crowded Miramar beach,” Mascarenhas said.
Most hookahs in restaurants and hookah bars do not use flavoured tobacco but industrially produced chemical nicotine, which has been labelled an insecticide and contains toxic chemicals, experts say.
In Goa too, chemical nicotine is widely smoked through hookahs in the many shacks dotting the state’s 105km coastline. It is a huge hit among foreign and Indian tourists.
“There are businessmen who set up hookahs for us and give us the raw material and charge us rent on a daily basis. We do not know how it works,” Cristos D’Souza, who runs a shack at Anjuna beach, said.