Health dept. pushing to ban public hookah smoking
The Department of Public Health will hold a meeting Monday to listen to residents after proposing a statewide ban on smoking Hookahs in public.
Utah banned smoking in bars and clubs in January 2009. Some health officials think hookahs violate that law. Hookah smokers usually combine tobacco with various flavors.
“There’s no safe second-hand smoke and some recent studies show even minimal amounts of second-hand smoke can be harmful,” says Utah Department of Public Health spokesman Steve Hadden.
Under the Utah indoor clean air act, the health department wrote new rules redefining “lighted tobacco” to include hookah products. If the new rule takes effect consumers could still buy their own hookah pipe, but cannot light one up at public places.
Nate Porter owns the Huka Bar in Murray. He says hookah has minimal tobacco and people know what they’re getting into when they step in the door.
“We’re called the Huka Bar; people come here knowing we have hookahs or they’re with their friends who smoke hookah,” says Porter.
Nate Porter plans on fighting the new law proposal. He will be at a public hearing Monday at the Utah Department of Health in Salt Lake City.