We're not sure what all the hoopla is about hookahs.
The Utah Department of Health wants to ban the pipes from public places, including the popular "huka" bars that are starting to spring up.
Health officials believe secondhand smoke from hookahs is just as dangerous as that of other tobacco products, which state law already prohibits in public indoor spaces.
Hookahs often use tobacco products mixed with flavoring, such as fruits and herbs. Non-tobacco use in hookahs wouldn't be included in a state ban.
Davis County, in its infinite wisdom of creating a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, has already banned hookahs in public places despite the fact there are no businesses in the county offering it up.
Still, there are a number of bars and restaurants in Salt Lake County that offer hookahs. They include sushi bars, Middle Eastern restaurants and social clubs.
The ban would not prohibit hookahs outright, only tobacco in the hookahs.
During debates last year in Davis County, health director Lewis Garrett said hookah smoke is still smoke that can be harmful to people.
"One of the reasons this is so prevalent, is it smells good," Garrett said. "It doesn't smell like tobacco. It smells like incense or something flavorful. And I think there's a misconception that this isn't nearly as harmful as cigarettes because it's filtered through the water and it smells nice."
The owners of hookah bars correctly point out that such a ban would put them out of business and impact other businesses that support them.
The health department will be taking public comment on the proposed ban through Tuesday. Interested parties can e-mail email@example.com with their comments.
To us, there is a reasonable solution from Utah's recent past. Make hookah bars private clubs.
The clubs could be required to include "hookah" in their name, so patrons would know exactly what they are getting into when they join the establishment. This would prevent unsuspecting patrons from being exposed to the secondhand sweet-smelling aroma of the hookahs.