BBMP's hookah ban has driven habit home

Palike appears to have indirectly helped hookah sellers in the city to make a fortune, as youngsters now prefer to buy their own hookahs and get their kicks at home. Trend of hookah-parties have some parents concerned, while others prefer that their kids stay at home where they can be monitored
The BBMP ban on cafes serving hookah may have had some effect on a few sections of the public, but it does not seem to have goaded youngsters to kick the habit entirely. Many youngsters are now buying hookahs and continue to smoke it in the confines of their homes.

Representation pic

Six months ago, the BBMP passed a strict order against serving hookah at cafes, fearing that underage kids were indulging in a reportedly harmful habit. While cafes owners complained about loosing out on business, shops selling hookahs in the city claim that sales have risen dramatically.

Shops in the city selling hookahs of various sizes, priced anywhere between Rs 800 and Rs 15,000, have been working hard to keep up with the demand. "Our sales have magically gone up. We were a little worried after BBMP's ban and thought that our sales would dip, but this ban has come as a blessing in disguise.
The small sized hookahs that are good to be kept at home are selling quicker than the larger ones," said Sajid from Jamal Mir (hookah dealers), Cunningham Road.

The trend seems to be blossoming across the city as another shop owner from Kamanahalli echoed the same sentiment. "Sales have gone up and it is interesting to see how youngsters are now buying hookahs to take home," said Manju, manager of AS dealers.

Prominent hookah dealer in Garuda Mall, Arabian Nights also recorded a surge in demand for small portable hookahs. "After the ban we thought sales would go down. The smaller hookahs are in great demand and we are out of stock right now," said Fardeen Khan, manager, Arabian Nights.

For many youngsters who would spend hours lazing in cafes puffing away and splurging at least Rs 800 Rs 1,500 on each visit, this seems to be the most viable solution.

"It is very economical and the BBMP has indirectly helped us. We save a lot of money because when we sit at cafes, we would be obliged to order food and drinks too. The benefit of having a hookah at home is that you only pay for the flavor (tobacco) and coal," said Vishaal Mehta, actor.

Others find the option of buying their own hookah very convenient in more ways than one. "It is very convenient and cheaper. The best thing about smoking with a bunch of friends at home is that it lasts as long as you want it to," said Parabjeet Singh, an advertiser.

The hookah trend seems to be taking over as a better option than alcohol at house parties in the city. "Hookahs became an instant house party hit as you could have any number of people sitting around, smoking and enjoying a nice evening with card games.

Many people in the city who enjoy soft parties love this new option. Also, we have all pooled in money and bought a few grand looking hookahs that adds some excitement to the party," said Zahida Khan, a student.

Mixed reactions
Meanwhile, the trend has a few people unsure and some parents seem to have accepted the development while others are still making observations.

"Initially I used to be scared about what my child would be indulging in outside. When a few of her friends bought a hookah home, I did not quite like it initially. At least, now she is here and if she does something wrong, I would be able to easily stop her and offer some advice to her friends also," said K Parmeet, a parent.

Rs 800-1,500
Cost of smoking at hookah parlour

Rs 800-15,000
cost of buying a branded sheesha

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