Hookah Lounge Smoking Debate Rages on in Washington State

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There is an ongoing and open debate in Washington state, surrounding the legalities and operational rights of local hookah lounges. The Stranger, a Seattle-based newspaper, reported that the state seems to be targeting these communities unfairly.

The debate continues even as the state presents the facts about the health risks behind the smoking practices of using hookahs.

The devices heat source is from burning charcoal. The smoke from this charcoal produces high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer forming chemicals.

Regardless of the water filtering, hookah smoke is still proven to be highly toxic. Babies born to a woman who smokes hookahs weigh less at birth than those born to non-smokers.

The second but most profound reason is Initiative 901, the Clean Indoor Air Act. It was overwhelmingly passed by 63 percent of the voters on Nov. 8. 2005.

The law bans smoking in most public places in bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, mini-casinos, most hotel rooms, and most other non-tribal businesses. Indian Tribes currently are exempted from the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act. It also requires a 25-foot smoke-free buffer around doorways, windows that open, and ventilation intakes making the Act more robust than eight other states that also have the statewide bans.

When these laws went into effect, no leniency was offered nor did it address specialty style businesses that operate in the sales of tobacco products such as cigar or hookah lounges.

Here is where opinions or conspiracy theories began to take form. Some think that this is a simple case of cooperate America showing its power to overtake the hookah lounges.

Locals seem to believe that the hookah lounges are under attack. Tobacco based businesses have seemingly been forced into closure. Moreover, high sales taxes are set to boost cannabis sales, according to many. As of now, it seems to be easier and cheaper to find and purchases cannabis from the state of Washington then it is to buy both tobacco and alcohol.

There are no more licenses available for purchase in the state of Washington for the hookah industry, though if following the right procedure, you can still buy in the cannabis market. Theirs only a select few hookah lounges in operation in the state. They are to be “grandfathered in,” Which means to be in existing and right standing before the law. The fear is they too will be smoked out by the green rush of the cannabis industry.hookah

The about hookah smoking truth should be considered before partaking in the activity.

Some medical patients believe that this is proof to their liking, and a takeover is not the sole reason for movements implemented on and around the cannabis market in its entirety.

The fact remains. That the alcohol industry was privatized in 2012, as the timing seems to align simultaneously with the cannabis industries legislation as follows: Initiative 692, in 1998; SB 5798 in 2010, and SB 5073 in 2011.

It could not have been planned any better, according to many of the locals in the Seattle area.

Written by Tray Dingle
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


SouthSmoke.com: Hold the Hookah
King County: Hookah smoking
The Stranger: Mayor Has No Plans to Change Course on Hookah Bar Crackdown
The Stranger: Health Department Busts Six Hookah Bars

Featured and Inset Image Courtesy of Justin Phillips Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Robin Zebrowski Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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