LAHORE - A bill has been introduced in the Punjab Assembly for the prevention of sheesha smoking in Punjab in order to save the public, especially the youth and the students from this bad habit.

It was Private Members Day in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday. A treasury member Shehbaz Ahmad introduced the bill in the House and Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal referred the same to the concerned Standing Committee of the House to make further improvements into the draft bill.

Under the proposed legislation, no person would be allowed t manufacture, sell, use or import or in any manner engage in sheesha smoking and any offence committed under this Act shall be non-bailable.

According to one of the provisions, “the act of sheesha smoking shall be tried summarily under Chapter XXII of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1998 (V of 1898) and whosoever commits or abets to commit an act of sheesha smoking; or manufactures, sells or offers for sale sheesha like (glass hooka); or manufactures, stores, sells or offers for sale material like different flavors, sheesha (glass hooka); or imports sheesha (glass hooka) and other related material like different flavors etc. shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees or with both”.

In the statement of objects and reasons, the mover of the bill has stated that the new trend of sheesha smoking was increasing day by day and Sheesha Cafes were opening in various parts of the whole province. “Our youth are enjoying and using hard and soft drugs in Sheesha Cafes and young girls are also not an exception” he maintained. He lamented that there seemed to be no planning to control this menace.

According to him, Sheesha Cafés are just like Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs) and they were new threat to our youth. He was of the view that the owners of such cafe are providing every facility to our youth for soft drug addiction in very comfortable and friendly atmosphere.