City Passes New Laws Restricting Hookah Bars

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City has a set of tough new laws designed to crack down on hookah bars and keep kids away from the smoke.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the laws Monday at City Hall.

The Rev. Khader El-Yateem of Brooklyn said he sees it all over his neighborhood.

“Children who are 15 and 16 years old are a these hookah bars smoking this poison, and they will find them around the corner vomiting,” El-Yateem said.

City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-43rd) quoted statistics about hookah smoking.

“One hookah smoking session could be the equivalent of 80 to 100 cigarettes,” he said.

Now, hookah will be treated like tobacco under city law. Users will have to be 21 to buy, smoking will not be allowed in doors – unless the business makes less than half its money from hookah in which case it can stay open, get licensed, and follow strict new rules such as a requirement to sanitize the apparatus between customers.

“The new law underscores and supports New York City’s continued effort to denormalize smoking,” Gentile said.

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