Local October 10, 2013 | 8:39 am

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While nations ease marijuana laws, Dominican deputies tighten it

Santo Domingo.- The Chamber of Deputies on Thursday approved a draft for a bill to ban hookahs (water pipe) in beerhouses, bars, clubs and public places, citing threats to health.

The initiative comes while several states in the U.S., European countries and various Latin American nations move to ease restrictions on marijuana and the so- called “paraphernalia” to smoke it

The lawmakers from all political parties voted after hearing the report from the Commission which studied the draft.

The initiative is by deputy Aquilino Serrata, who said the ban aims to prohibit the use of what he calls a device harmful to Dominican youth.

"While it’s true that the use of hookahs is a social act in Asian countries used to smoke special tobacco of different flavors, which may be shared by several people, is no less a fact that it’s being improperly used in the Dominican Republic," the Commission report says.

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