Minors avoid pubs, go for hookah pens

Shops near colleges, schools selling hookah devices.

Hyderabad: With police and excise officials cracking down on the entry of minors into pubs and hookah centres, hookah pens, are becoming popular. Stationery shops near schools and colleges are the main source of these pens, which sell them even to minors.

These pens are available on e-tailer portals too. Though this habit was prevalent among students in private schools, it came to light when a Class VII student was caught with the pen. Since then, police said, they had increased vigil on the sellers.

The hookah pen is sold as an electronic cigarette, along with a charger and liquid filler called Water Vape. It can be filled with 1.6 ml of the liquid and used.
The electronic cigarette, which is also called ‘vap pen’, should be charged for three hours and can be used for up to two days.

The liquid supplied along with the hookah pen contains propylene glycol, a carcinogenic. “It affects the lungs when inhaled. It mixes with the blood and reaches the brain. Memory gets hit and can cause serious problems,” Dr Naresh Vadlamani, a senior psychiatrist said.

“Earlier, I had to cite some excuse at home or college to go to a hookah parlour, but with this pen it is very easy for me to have my daily dose of hookah,” a junior college student college said. “This pen is a good option for us, especially girls. Earlier hookah parlours would allow us secretly, but now they have made it strict,” a girl student from a city school said.

The accessories and contents of a hookah pen.The accessories and contents of a hookah pen.

School managements admit the practice exists but most schools and parents don’t acknowledge it openly. “Parents also know about the issue but if informed about such incidents involving their kids, they deny it and the issue becomes more difficult to tackle. Such kids can become a threat to other kids and spoil them also,” said Mr Vasireddy Amarnath from Slate the School.

The Andhra Pradesh Balala Hakkula Sangham said it had informed the police about the menace. “Police should act strictly against the sellers and the users. If neglected at an early stage, students will get addicted and resort to crimes to fulfil their craving for hookah,” Mr Achyutha Rao, sangham honorary president, said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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