There are none operating here, and only one inquiry made, but the Tobacco Control Alliance is asking the city to create a regulation banning hookah bars and tobacco stores.
A hookah bar is a bar where people go to communally smoke flavored tobacco in a water-filled pipe called a hookah. A tobacco store is a store that exclusively offers tobacco and often allows customers to sample tobacco before buying it.
Joan Hamlett of the Tobacco Control Alliance presented the Board of Health with a draft health regulation that would ban the two types of businesses as part of the city’s general regulations banning smoking in bars and city buildings.
Ms. Hamlett said that at present none of either type of business exists in the 34 cities and towns the Tobacco Control Alliance works with, so it is a good time to consider the regulations.
“It’s easy to prohibit them when there aren’t any of them yet,” she said.
Ms. Hamlett said Worcester and Springfield have had hookah bars, but the only sign of interest so far in northern Central Massachusetts was a call she received from a Gardner business owner who was wondering what it would take to set up a hookah bar in conjunction with her restaurant and bar business. She said owner seemed to back off from the plan after learning what would be required.
— George Barnes