North Carolina Hookah Lounge Still Permit Smoking Despite the Ban

Though the rigorous legislation banning smoking in all public places in the tobacco state of North Carolina, including bars, and therefore, prohibiting hookahs, went into force almost two months ago, several hookah lounges are still open offering patrons a chance to have a puff of fruit-flavored pipe.

Adam Bliss, proprietor of Hookah Bliss, the most famous hookah lounge in the town of Chapel Hill admitted that his venue would keep serving its patrons, as they are prepared to be ticketed and probably fill a lawsuit in case of any fines levied on the business.

Hookah Bliss serves alcohol and gives customers the opportunity to smoke hookah, water pipes for smoking special type of flavored moist tobacco. The business was established more than two years ago, and won the hearts of local tobacco-lovers.

Hookah lounges have not been included in the list of venues exempted from the ban, such as cigar clubs and smoke shops. Cigar clubs were determined to be getting nearly one-third of its earnings from the sale of cigars, while smoke shops generate more than 75 percent of yearly earnings from sales of tobacco products. Therefore, such businesses were defined as tobacco-dependant and should be excluded from the ban.

The statewide ban on smoking in public places was approved by North Carolina Legislature and endorsed by Gov. Beverly Purdue last spring.

Adam Bliss could stop serving alcohol and thus his business would be included in the exemption list in the capacity of a tobacco store.

However, the owner of Hookah Bliss said that certain provisions of the ban made him lose his tongue as they are definitely not related to alcohol or smoking, but to protect the health of N.C. residents from the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke in the places of recreation and employment.

He said that the officials have stated the anti-smoking legislation protects the workers from tobacco smoke, so that has been an entirely health matter, in compliance with the law. Nevertheless, four groups of public venues, and, what is especially important is that all the places exempted from the ban are oriented at wealthy tobacco-lovers, the places where the officials themselves could go any time. So, it means that people who work in the places such as cigar clubs could still be exposed to the “dangerous” secondhand smoke, and need no protection, whereas the average workers from simple businesses need it. That is a way too ridiculous.

Venues that permit puffing will get two warnings in written form. In case they don’t stop flouting the law, they would be subject to a fine of $200, which could grow even more with each subsequent offence.

So, it is still smoky in Hookah Bliss, and it is still packed with the customers willing to smoke a flavored water pipe.

Several other hookah bars are as well operating, and their owners claim the do not flout the law, as they consider they found a sort of a loophole in that law, permitting patrons to keep puffing through their favorite oriental water pipes.

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