Stricter Regulations for Hookah Bars

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County officials are considering a proposal to impose stricter regulations on Hookah bars in the county. From the article:

Council members are weighing a proposal by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz that would require the lounges to close at 8 p.m. on weeknights and 9 p.m. on weekends, restrictions Kamenetz says would prevent neighborhood disruptions and curb illegal activity. At a Tuesday work session, the council heard from business owners who said they are being unfairly targeted and from residents who say lounge patrons wreak havoc in their neighborhoods.

Many business owners stated that the times specified in the proposal would put them out of business.

As described in the article:

Hookah lounges are businesses where patrons smoke flavored tobacco through a hookah — or communal water pipe. A provision in the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007 allows smoking at such establishments. Unlike bars, hookah lounges are not licensed or otherwise regulated by the county, and some stay open after bars close and let patrons bring their own alcohol.

Following the work session, some council members expressed an interest in amending the bill to allow the establishments to stay open later. A vote is scheduled on the proposal for May 5.
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