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From Public Health – Seattle & King County
Public Health – Seattle & King County has filed papers in King County Superior Court asking the court to stop two hookah bars for exposing employees and the public to tobacco smoke in violation of Washington’s Smoking in Public Places Act and local Board of Health Code.
The request for an injunction was filed against The Night Owl in Seattle’s University District and Medina Hookah Lounge in south Seattle.
A hookah is a glass pipe filled with water that is used for smoking flavored tobacco, often by several people at once.
During a typical 45-minute session of hookah use, a person may inhale as much smoke, tobacco and carcinogens as smoking 100 cigarettes or more.
Smoking in public places law
Washington’s Smoking in Public Places law was passed by voters in 2005 and prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment. The local Board of Health code mirrors the state law and includes provisions that prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices.
Hookah bars have claimed that they are exempt from the indoor smoking law because they are private clubs. However, smoking is prohibited by law if an establishment has employees and/or the club is open to the public.
A previous ruling by a King County Hearing Examiner on February 12, 2014 found that both the Night Owl and Medina are open to the public, operating similarly to night clubs that charge a cover for admission.
“Hookah smoke is as addictive as traditional cigarettes”, said Patty Hayes, Interim Director, Public Health- Seattle & King County. “Asking the court for an injunction is a measure of last resort, but it is necessary now to ensure all our businesses are protecting the health of employees and the public.” Continue reading