Hookah outlawed in Toronto bars and restaurants

Smokers share frustration over upcoming ban

Inside Cloud Nine Café, a popular hookah lounge just west of Coxwell Avenue at 1530 Danforth Ave. Aziza Ahmed Ibrahim/Toronto Observer

Toronto hookah smokers will have to put the pipe down for good in April 2016.

On Nov. 4 city council voted 34-3 to put an end to hookah smoking in bars and lounges.

Medical officer David McKeown told council that hookah smoking poses significant long-term health risks to both the user and those in the vicinity. A recent study suggests that exposure to the air in a hookah bar is the same as smoking 10 cigarettes.

Hookahs pipes are sometimes used to smoke tobacco flavoured with everything from apple, mint, cherry, coconut, licorice and watermelon.

Sanaa Ali is a regular customer at a number of hookah lounges along the Danforth. Coming together with her friends to catch up and chat over some hookah and loud music has become part of a routine for them all.

“When I heard the news I was like ‘wow this sucks!’ Hookah lounges are just relaxing places for you and your friends to go to hang out after a long day at work or school,” Ali said. “Cigarettes and alcohol are just as detrimental to people’s health so why ban some things and not all?”

Other Toronto hookah smokers share similar thoughts over the upcoming hookah ban and take to Twitter to voice their frustration.

“To be honest a lot of people have shisha (hookah) at home or know someone who does,” Ali said. “Just because we can’t come here and smoke doesn’t mean we’re going to stop smoking for good.”

About this article

By: Aziza Ibrahim
Copy editor: Bogdan Stanciu
Posted: Nov 18 2015 10:40 am
Filed under: News Science & Health