Peel Region bans hookah smoking in public spaces

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Image courtesy of Darla Hueske via Flickr.

Your favourite hookah bar in Brampton or Mississauga could be in danger of closing.

On April 28 Region of Peel council voted 20-2 in favour of a ban on smoking hookah/water pipes in enclosed Peel spaces, like bars, lounges or restaurants.

This new bylaw would affect at least 20 businesses in Peel, including a few in Brampton.

This follows a similar ban in Toronto earlier this year, which started enforcement in April.

The new regional bylaw comes into effect on November 1, 2016 and bans water pipe smoking in:

An enclosed public place, enclosed workplace, restaurant or bar patio, a playground, sporting area, a spectator area adjacent to a sporting area, school, or any area under public ownership that is within 20 metres of any point on the perimeter of a playground, sporting area or spectator area adjacent to a sporting area.

Anyone found in violation of this bylaw will be fined between $250-300.

Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon must approve the bylaw in their respective city councils in order for the regional bylaw to be enforced.

Hookah is a cultural tradition that originated in the Middle East, but has since spread all over the world, especially higher-income countries like Canada.

Hookah comes in the form of herbal-based and tobacco-based, but research suggests that both types are harmful to health in different ways.

The majority of establishments in Peel that sell hookah are less than five years old. Most are restaurants or lounges that offer appetizers, while a few also serve alcohol. Owners indicated to the region that their businesses would be negatively impacted if a ban was enacted.

According to consultation conducted by the region, Hookah businesses and patrons alike are aware of the health risks, though believe those risks are minimal.

Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Kuwait, have banned hookah smoking in enclosed public spaces.

Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Quebec have banned the practice on a provincial level. Barrie, Bradford-West Gwilimbury, Orillia, Chatham-Kent, and Peterborough are other Ontario cities and towns that have banned it.

The regional staff report can be found on page 229 here. The bylaw can be found on page 244.

Do you think the region should ban hookah smoking in enclosed public spaces? Let us know in the comments below

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