According to a news release from the Milford Health Department, the Olive Tree Hookah Lounge was closed because smoking tobacco through a water pipe is a “significant health hazard.”
For those who don’t know, smoking hookah is when you smoke flavored tobacco through a water pipe.
Salmmer Karout of Hamden is challenging Milford's attempts to block him from reopening his exotic smoking lounge featuring hookahs and belly dancers. He appealed the city's action and plans to reopen the club Friday night.
According to the World Health Organization, a typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette.
Milford officials decided smoking is bad for you and felt the need to step in and protect the people who were making the choice to smoke hookah.
“This action was taken to protect the health of the smoker,” said Dr. A. Dennis McBride, Milford’s Health Director.
James L. Richetelli, Jr., Milford’s mayor, agrees with the department’s decision to close the lounge saying, “Exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious issue … [they] took a reasonable and necessary public health measure to protect the public from the health risks of smoking.”
Karout opened the "hookah" club in May and said the private, members-only organization and is exempt from city regulations.
In 2003, Connecticut enacted its statewide smoking ban to the dismay of smokers. It made it illegal to smoke in nearly all workplaces where five or more people work; restaurants and other establishments with liquor permits according to an Office of Legislative Research report. However, there is an exception for specially ventilated smoking rooms and tobacco bars.
There are two other locations in Connecticut that are doling out hookah to its niche crowd. Hookah fans can still get their smoke on at Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan in West Hartford, and Mediterranea Café in New Haven.