Many Hookah Bars Ignore Smoking Ban

Most bars and restaurants are obeying North Carolina's new indoor smoking ban. But the Winston-Salem Journal reports some hookah bars are ignoring the law, saying they are exempt.

Hookahs are long pipes used with flavored tobacco. Smokers heat tobacco and flavoring and use a tube to draw the smoke through a bowl of water to cool it. The newspaper reports the state had about 20 hookah bars last year.

Hookah bar owners and supporters say the tobacco is never lit, but is heated by charcoal. They point to part of the law that defines "smoking" as "the use or possession of a lighted cigarette, lighted cigar, lighted pipe, or any other lighted tobacco product."

An attorney for the Division of Public Health says hookahs fall under the "lighted pipe" definition.


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  • by Megan Location: Havelock on May 5, 2010 at 06:15 PM
    Im not even a smoker, but when I go into a bar I expect there to be people smoking. Especially at a hookah bar, come on now.
  • by Meagan Location: New Bern on May 5, 2010 at 06:09 PM
    Seriously.... Its a HOOKAH bar.... what would it be without the hookahs?
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jan 12, 2010 at 12:56 PM
    What wrong OSOC, no everything is Obamas fault.... well, ever hear "its something in the water", its second hand snake oil from the politicians in Raleigh. Its hard to get it out of the water treatment plants there. Cactus and Crazy, thats the point. In Ca cigar bars were big. OK, if you go into a cigar bar, doesn't the name implicate...something about cigars? I didn't have a sliderule for that one. This is about a lobby wanting nanny laws in all the states. A liberal lobby to "control health" of its subjects. Thats you and me. This ban doesn't effect me, but, at some point, it might. I like Hamburgers once a week. I like Carolina BBQ....at some point, the state will be able to tell you that due to your blood pressure, you cannot eat food like that. And guess what? Its in the healthcare bill that they can drop you......
  • by Non Smoker on Jan 12, 2010 at 12:33 AM
    OK, I'm happy that I don't have to smell smoke when I go out to eat. Cool. BUT, a HOOKAH BAR?!?! The entire POINT of the bar is to sit around a hookah and smoke in a social setting. If you are a non smoker such as myself, you do not go to those bars! How are they supposed to remain in business?!?!?!
  • by Just Saying Location: RMNC on Jan 12, 2010 at 12:13 AM
    If I own a resturant, I should be able to allow smoking in my resturant if I want to. If you do not want to come to my resturant because I allow smoking, DO NOT COME TO MY RESTURANT. You think I'm gonna go out of business because I allow smoking? Get real.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Jan 11, 2010 at 11:23 PM
    Wrong Cactus.. ("they expect all places to be non-smoking, even a "hookah bar"") If you read my post (the very first one here), you will see that I do not expect a hookah bar to be a non-smoking establishment, and well I'm a non-smoker. No blanket statements, please. Remember too, I'm the one who has been up here for the last week or so saying that I DO know courteous smokers, so I'm not generalizing anyone myself. The fault lies in how the ban was written up. There are supposed to be sufficient exceptions for such businesses. Someone oopsed.
  • by crazy on Jan 11, 2010 at 06:18 PM
    This is stupid to fight this. What's next? A ban on smoking in your home-based business. I don't smoke. I don't like second-hand smoke. But I won't go to a hookah bar for clean air either. Let the business be.
  • by T Location: Gville on Jan 11, 2010 at 05:12 PM
    To tell you a story that was told during an interview with Billy Bob Thorton that tells you how stupid these laws can be. He was doing a movie that he didn't really like and he said the only upside was there was an irish pub outside his dressing area. So he gets off work for the day gets a beer and lights up a cigarette the bar tender tells him you can't smoke here. He's like but this is a IRISH PUB he was like sorry no smoking. He wanted to know where he could smoke he was told outside. he goes out on the patio but you can't smoke there either. So he asks where can he. He was told he could smoke 2 feet away on the sidewalk. so he goes to the side walk then she tells him I'm sorry you can't drink your beer on the side walk. He had to walk the 2 feet to the patio to drink then 2 feet to the side walk to smoke even though as he put it there was enough pollution from cars going by to hurt someone more then his cigarette could ever cause. That's when it gets downright stupid.
  • by T Location: Gville on Jan 11, 2010 at 05:00 PM
    See that's stupid to say they are not exempt. Why would a nonsmoker go into a hookah bar which is there for the use of smoking in this way. I thought I recall reading somewhere that cigar bars were exempt but maybe I read it wrong. However imho the law was created to prevent smokers from smoking around nonsmokers however if the establishment is primarily there for smoking then there would be no reason for a nonsmoker to be there unless they so choose to and then they would be doing so of their own accord. If they prevent that then they are discriminating against smokers if they say that smokers using this method can not go into a bar that is there for the smoking of this type of tobacco. Because then it's not about saving the health of nonsmokers then it's simply taking away the rights of smokers.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Jan 11, 2010 at 04:13 PM
    OSOC, Atlanta also ban smoking at the ball stadiums, but you could get all the beer you wanted. Now tell me, would you rather a smoker be driving or a drunk? I think if I were a bar owner it would be for smokers only, non-smokers are a pain in the kister. Some one please tell me why a non-smoker should have more rights than a smoker, politics my friend, politics. Non-smokers really amaze me, they expect all places to be non-smoking, even a "hookah bar", tobacco shop, cigar shop, just what do they expect, doughnuts? To my non-smoking friends lighten up, you are becoming rather ridiculous.
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