We know that the novel COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and in a move to control the outbreak, the government of Delhi has restricted the use of Hookah in all public places effective immediately, according to the most recent order.

The order specified that “The use of Hookah (with and without tobacco i.e., herbal hookah, water pipes, and other hookah-like devices) in all public places including hotels, restaurants, eatery houses, bars, pubs; discotheques, etc. of the NCT of Delhi is strictly prohibited with immediate effect,”

“It is observed that in public places, use and sharing of hookah may further increase the spread of COVID-19,” it said. The health and family welfare department recognized that smoking and sharing of Hookah could lead to a further increase in the spread of COVID-19.

The motivation behind restricting people from smoking the hookah was that it involves sharing its mouthpieces and hoses, this could easily aid the transmission of COVID-19. It was also observed that as hookah is usually smoked in closed spaces and social settings, the aerosols carrying the virus generated by an infected person could further spread the infection among people sitting firmly to the infected person.

The order also claims that smokers are more vulnerable to contract the virus as the simple “act of smoking” can increase the probability of transmitting COVID-19 from hand to mouth. “The fingers and cigarettes are in contact with lips which increase the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth,” the order said.

Medical experts weighed in and shared that smokers are more likely to increase the spread of the virus in the environment. “The research suggests that the virus has been airborne. If an infected person is smoking in public, the aerosols generated by that person could infect the people present in his vicinity,” said Dr Pankaj Solanki.

Apart from being more infectious, the doctors claim that health-wise, the impact of COVID-19 could be more fatal for smokers. “Smokers may already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness. The conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put them at higher risk of the consequences of bilateral viral pneumonia if they get infected,” opined Dr Avinash Mohanty, an expert dealing in pulmonary diseases.

While the government is trying its best to control the spread of COVID-19, doctors suggest that the government should further implement stricter prohibitions on smoking in public as an added measure to contain virus’ spread. “Despite being a public offense, the compliance authorities are very lenient on smoking in public. The challans against the violation are merely symbolic and fail to prevent people from practicing it in the public spaces,” said Dr Solanki