London Borough of Barnet

Shisha bar owner and manager prosecuted over illegal smoking bar

Published Monday 2 July 2012

The owner and the manager of a Finchley shisha bar have become the first in the borough to be prosecuted by Barnet Council under smoke-free legislation.

Mohamadali Bohlolzadeh and Said Hawila of Fudu Lounge, High Road, were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £2,930 for regularly allowing the smoking of shisha pipes in an ‘almost entirely enclosed space’.

Prior to prosecution, council Environmental Health Inspectors visited the premises on several occasions, issuing warnings to the bar’s owners requiring them to adapt the structure to ensure no more than 50 per cent of the smoking area was undercover.

Smoke-free legislation introduced by the Government back in July 2007, is designed to protect non-smokers from the health effects associated with second-hand smoke. Shisha smoking involves inhaling smoke from a variety of flavoured tobacco through a water pipe.

The law prevents smoking in a public or commercial enclosed space. Under the restrictions, a customer as well as the premises owners and managers can be prosecuted for failure to comply.

With a growing number of shisha smoking bars opening and a common perception that shisha smoking is less harmful than cigarettes, the World Health Organisation has issued the following advice:

 

  • A typical one hour shisha smoking session involves inhaling 100-200 times the volume of smoke inhaled when smoking a single cigarette.
  • The flavouring and sweeteners in shisha only disguise the harmful ingredients in tobacco. People who smoke shisha are increasing their chances of developing life threatening conditions such as heart disease, lung cancer and strokes.
  • The water contained in the pipe does not filter out harmful substances such as carbon monoxide,  heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Sharing a shisha mouthpiece can spread infectious diseases.
  • Shisha pipes omit second-hand smoke posing health risks to non-smokers.

Councillor David Longstaff, Cabinet Member for Safety and Resident Engagement said:

“Using a water pipe to smoke tobacco poses a serious health hazard not only to the smoker but to those around them. With a growing trend of shisha bars opening across the country, Barnet Council’s Environmental Health and Legal teams will be monitoring and taking action against any which fail to comply with legislation in this borough.

“We take our responsibility to our residents’ health very seriously and as this case proves we will follow our investigations all the way to prosecution if and where necessary.”

For advice on quitting smoking contact the Barnet Stop Smoking Service on 0800 32 82 784 8am - 5pm, Monday to Friday or email barnetstopsmoking@nhs.net

Contact Press Officer: Mike Langton