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Officials to decide if hooka lounge violates smoking ban

CORINTH — Alex Al-Quawwas wants to expand his business with a hookah lounge, where people would be able to smoke a non-tobacco product using a hookah.

The issue before Corinth officials is whether the activity violates the city’s public smoking ban, according to the Daily Corinthian.

A hookah is an instrument generally used for smoking flavored tobacco. It includes a water basin through which the smoke passes before inhalation.

“I want to do it right and do it legally,” said Al-Quawwas, who owns JT’s Falafel and Kababs.

He said hookah lounges are popular in some areas as they allow people to enjoy smoking after a meal.

“Basically it’s honey with molasses,” he said, describing the product he would offer for smoking.

He said he would supply the hookahs, which he described as like a water pipe; people would not bring hookahs to the business. Al-Quawwas said it would be the only smoking product his business would offer. He said the “smoke” produced is steam, like that produced by an electronic cigarette.

“The smoking ordinance … defines smoking as using tobacco basically in any form,” said city attorney Wendell Trapp. “I think his suggestion is this is not tobacco, therefore it is not a violation of the smoking ordinance.”

Trapp said the packaging indicates it is not tobacco and “it does say components of natural plants.”

The board of aldermen delayed a decision until Trapp received more information on the product.

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