Suffolk Legislature Approves Hookah Lounge Regulation
Legislator William Spencer and his colleagues voted to require hookah lounges in the County to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in each room. The detectors will monitor the carbon monoxide concentrations in order to protect employees and patrons from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
Legislator Spencer stated, “I am very pleased that I was able to work with my colleagues to protect the health of not only the employees but also the patrons of hookah lounges. There is a misconception that hookah smoke is less toxic than cigarette smoke. Many people are unaware that one hookah session is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. This legislation will ensure that the carbon monoxide levels are kept within an acceptable range. The small businesses will be able to continue to provide hookah users an outlet while limiting health risks in their lounges.”
A hookah is a water pipe that people use to smoke flavored tobacco. The tobacco is heated by charcoal pieces, and the smoke is drawn through water into the smoker’s lungs using a hose. When the charcoal is burned, high levels of carbon monoxide are emitted and ingested by the hookah user. This exposure to carbon monoxide is dangerous and can cause harmful consequences. “Hookah lounges” cater to people interested in smoking from hookahs in a social environment, but employees and patrons may not realize that they are exposed to the risk of elevated carbon monoxide levels.
The Department of Health Services will establish all rules and regulations necessary to ensure this law is successfully implemented and that all hookah lounges adhere, in order to protect the residents of the county. Legislator Spencer felt great satisfaction today as the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously voted in favor of this very important piece of legislation.
Lora A. Gellerstein, Chief Legislative Aide, Office of Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer