Davis County bans hookah bars before they even open

Aug 10 2010 - 10:58pm

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FARMINGTON -- No hookah bars will be setting up shop in Davis County.

On Tuesday, the Davis County Board of Health issued a directive that hookah bars -- businesses that offer waterpipe tobacco-smoking in public -- be held in violation of state law.

Salt Lake County has a hookah bar and other related businesses, but none exist in Davis County.

The directive comes at the suggestion of Lewis Garrett, the director of health at Davis County Health Department.

He called it a proactive move to discourage business owners from starting up a shop that would have to be shut down.

"If they tried to open a hookah bar in Davis County, we would not allow that," Garrett said.

The board decided to interpret a state law involving the Indoor Clean Air Act and the use of lighted tobacco products,

"This is all about preventing secondhand smoke," Garrett said.

Private use would not be affected.

Board members were told hookah-related literature points out that people "smoke" a hookah and that "smoking" is defined in the state code as "the possession of any lighted tobacco product in any form."

Garrett said the board decided that the lighted charcoal used in the waterpipe makes the law applicable.

Last month, Utah County Board of Health voted to table a regulation that would put hookah pipes in the same classification as cigarettes and cigars while board members further investigate the issue.

In other issues, the board decided to review how temporary food vendors are permitted by the department, and reviewed a proposal to allow food-handler cards to be issued for statewide use.

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