State News

Some hookah bars ignoring N.C. smoking ban

Posted January 11, 2010

— 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.

The smoking ban relies on the public to report violations to their local health department, online at or by calling the N.C. CARE-LINE toll-free at 800-662-7030.


Information from: Winston-Salem Journal


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  • braddyg Jan 13, 2010

    wow, nice typing on my part. Supposed to be America.

  • braddyg Jan 13, 2010

    "It is truly sad when people celebrate an erosion of liberty simply because it's not their liberty that is being lost..."

    You said it best right there, Salem. Sadly, that's the way most people seem to feel in American today.

  • SalemWWX Jan 12, 2010

    "Yes, we have to agree to disagree. You think smokers should be able to enjoy a dinner out at a restaurant but not non-smokers. You say, "Don't like it, don't go there!"

    Sorry about the abrupt response....supper's on the stove...I've never said that smokers should be "able to enjoy a dinner out at a restaurant but not non-smokers"...I've simply said that a restaurant owner should have the right to cater to both or either...that's the difference...I support a happy medium for all, you support restricting one for the benefit of you....

  • SalemWWX Jan 12, 2010

    If that's the way you truly believe then I'm sorry but you're no Conservative....

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 12, 2010

    Yes, we have to agree to disagree. You think smokers should be able to enjoy a dinner out at a restaurant but not non-smokers. You say, "Don't like it, don't go there!" Well I say that to you now because the law finally got it right. If you want to smoke after dinner, do it outside or stay home. I've had enough of this nonsense. It's a common sense law and I'm glad we have it. It's a shame it took this long.

  • SalemWWX Jan 12, 2010

    Truth....We may just have to agree to disagree on this one....a smokers smoke affects only those who have chosen to enter an establishment that allows smoking....I don't believe that someone has the inherent right to eat, drink or enter a business just because they wish to...the fact that the state has licensed or "given permission" for a business t operate is irrelevant to me.....

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 12, 2010

    If a smoker could smoke without impacting those around him, not a single one of us would be opposed to him smoking. And if the government bans cigarettes in general, I will join you in opposing that. This issue is not about protecting us from ourselves. It's about protecting OTHERS from the actions of a few. We say let smokers engage in that risky behavior. Just do it in such a way that you don't affect others.

    Restaurants may be privately owned, but they aren't private residences. They are businesses. They are there to serve the public and earn income from their patrons. But they have to abide by rules that ensure the safety of patrons.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 12, 2010

    Salem, we're more alike than you realize. I'm a staunch conservative. I hate with a passion the thought of freedoms being eroded. I don't believe in banning guns for a little bit of perceived security. I agree with Ben Franklin's quote about people that would sacrifice their freedom for more security deserve neither freedom NOR security. I get that. I'm in touch with that. And if there was a reason for supporting this "right to smoke" (which I'm not entirely sure is included in the bill of rights...), it is the aspect of losing rights. I get that. A very small part of me agrees with you on that angle.

    But restaurants are not private residences. Owners don't get to do just anything they want in their place of business. They have rules to follow, most of them for the purpose of protecting patrons, employees, and I suppose even the owners themselves. When someone opens a restaurant, they agree to abide by these rules. I understand the need for each rule, too.


  • SalemWWX Jan 12, 2010

    "But then there's the problem of the employees' health."

    And therein lies the symptom of the problem....there is a fundamental difference between people like you and people like me. I am willing to give the freedoms and responsibilities that I hold dear and defend to you and everyone else, whether it be the freedom to bear arms, or the freedom to assemble or the freedom to run your business the way you want, or to work where you want. I believe that you have the responsibility and the ability to make those decisions for yourself without me sticking my nose into it. People like you however believe in freedom and responsibility only to the point where it contradicts what you want or believe, at which point it becomes inconvenient and something to be legislated by the state. For something to be a "right", it must exist simultaneously among all people. I submit that you have the right to open a business and run it as you choose....would you do the same? Apparently not....

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 12, 2010

    "TruthBKnown Returns: HIGH FIVE!!!!!!"

    Back atcha, commonsense!