NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – More and more hookah bars seem to be popping up across the city and one Brooklyn lawmaker is looking to put a stop to it.
The popularity of the hookah bar is undeniable. For example, there are about a dozen within walking distance of Thompkins Square Park.
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City Councilman Vincent Gentile’s ban would prevent new indoor establishments from opening in 2012. Gentile hopes to increase inspections of existing hookah bars and require them to register with the Health Department.
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Gentile said the herbal smoke from hookahs can be just as dangerous as tobacco.
At Sahara East on Second Avenue, one man said it’s silly to include hookah bars under the city’s no smoking policy.
“Banning hookah bars, that’s really getting out of hand,” he said. “That’s like saying you can’t eat in a restaurant.”
Some New Yorkers feel hookah bars should be treated the same as cigar bars.
“This is specifically made for a hookah bar and I don’t see anything wrong with a hookah bar doing its thing,” another man said.