Powerful Collaboration with the California’s Clean Air Project: "Hookah in Your Community: Ideas for Action"
“Currently, there are over 90 hookah venues in California [Now, there are hundreds]. Their growth has tripled in the past three years. The primary concerns over hookah are both health-related and compliance-related (Labor Code 6404.5, The California Smoke-free Workplace Law). If you have questions about hookah […] or need further assistance, please contact CCAP (California’s Clean Air Project) at 916-452-8065" (page 3)
"When a hookah smoker is exposed to hookah smoke (the addictive stimulant nicotine) for 45–60 minutes, it is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes" (page 4)
"Hookah tobacco contains the same chemicals found in all tobacco, including nicotine, carcinogens and nitros[a]mines. Secondhand hookah smoke contains the same cancer-causing particulates found in secondhand cigarette smoke. In addition, the charcoal used in the tobacco heating process produces the toxin, carbon monoxide" (page 4)
Diana Bonta, Director, California Department of Health Services-July 21, 2003: “The use of hookah pipes is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. Smoking hookah pipes has been reported to cause oral, oesophageal and lung cancer as well as heart disease, chronic bronchitis and of course, nicotine addiction” (page 4)
"All bona fide retail tobacco shops are exempt from the California Smoke-free Workplace Act (Labor Code 6404.5) and may allow smoking inside an enclosed workplace. A hookah venue that serves food and/or beverages for consumption on the premises does not meet the definition of a tobacco store. Therefore, it cannot claim an exemption from the Smoke-free Workplace Act and allow smoking indoors. Obtaining a tobacco retail license from the State of California allows a hookah business to sell tobacco. However, such a license does not allow for smoking of the product inside a workplace where the Smoke-free Workplace act otherwise prohibits smoking.
“A ‘tobacco store’ is defined as a retail business that meets all of the following requirements: (A) Primarily sells tobacco products. (B) Generates more than 60 percent of its gross revenues annually from the sale of tobacco products and tobacco paraphernalia. (C) Does not permit any person under 18 years of age to be present or enter the premises at any time, unless accompanied by the person’s parent or legal guardian, as defined in Section 6903 of the Family Code: (D) Does not sell alcoholic beverages or food for consumption on the premises”" (pages 4-5)
"Violation of municipal codes regarding disturbing the peace – behavior of young and underage hookah customers who have over indulged at the pipe and vomit on sidewalks and streets in front of and near hookah establishments" (page 6)
"Another relevant California code, Health & Safety Code 113775, states: “Food means any raw, or processed substance, ice, beverage, including water, or ingredient intended to be used as food, drink, confection, or condiment for human consumption.” This code section is relevant because it further stipulates that hookah pipes cannot be smoked indoors where food is consumed and cannot be used in any enclosed area" (page 9)
Note: "Hookah tobacco and cigar tobacco contain the same chemicals found in all tobacco, including nicotine. Secondhand hookah and cigar smoke contain the same cancer-causing chemicals found in secondhand cigarette smoke" (page 11)
IDEAS FOR ACTION (page 10)
"# Are you concerned about hookah venues in your community ? In California, there are hookah bars, cafes and lounges that may not be compliant with the California Smoke-free Workplace Law Labor Code Section 6404.5. The following ‘Ideas for Action’ are ways to learn more about these venues and how to improve compliance with the law in your community".
"# An excellent activity for staff and coalition members to do together or separately: Visit each hookah venue in your community and stay for at least 30 minutes. Order something to eat or drink if available, sit down, and just observe what is going on. Are pipes being smoked indoors or outdoors? What is the average age of the customers? Is food being served? Are beverages being served? Do you see minors present? Are minors being allowed to smoke hookah pipes ? How is the tobacco being sold, by block (large) or square (small) ? Is there a hookah menu or advertisement about how much the tobacco or pipe rental costs? If so, pick up a copy. If you feel comfortable, ask the proprietor if hookah is smoked indoors or outdoors. Please pass this information onto CCAP (contact information below)."
"# Create a database of hookah venues for county or the cities in your area. Include the name of the establishment, address and phone number. With this information you are assisting statewide tobacco control organizations who are collecting this data; you are also helping your local law enforcement agencies."
"# If you have received complaints about a hookah venue, contact local law enforcement and ask them to investigate. Give them any information, activity reports, or complaints you have collected. Inform them of the law and how hookah venues are affected by Labor Code Section 6404.5."
"# Tell law enforcement officers that free hookah tobacco testing is provided by CCAP. Officers are often told by proprietors that hookah tobacco is not really tobacco or that it is only a fruit mu[a]ssell product. Testing will prove that there is nicotine content in the tobacco."
"# Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Tell about the health dangers of smoking hookah tobacco and the addictive qualities of hookah tobacco."
"# Use the fact sheet in this packet to support your efforts."
An excellent study by Kamlesh Ashotra: "What You Don’t Know Can Kill You" (pages 12-16)
Quoteworthy: "It is becoming increasingly clear that, like tobacco smoking, mainstream hookah smoke and second-hand hookah smoke cause deleterious effects on reproductive systems in men and women and produce genotoxic, mutagenic, and teratogenic effects on babies of smoking parents.These effects include infertility in females and sterility of males, and low birth weight 26, 27 and birth defects in babies born to smoking mothers. A recent study of 100 Egyptian infertile women determined that the couples’ infertility was due to sterility of husbands who were hookah smokers.
High concentration of CO is a major component of second-hand smoke from hookah. The contribution from burning charcoal in hookah may also have significant and deleterious effects on young babies that may be exposed to mild CO levels. Even at very low levels, such as 25 to 50 parts per million parts of air, CO can produce permanent damage to the inner ear in young babies and irreversible loss of hearing" (page 14)
Download full Document (heavy pdf) from
California’s Clean Air Project
877-388-Ccap (2227). 2210 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. The United States of America. A project of ETR Associates
Vista (California): City to Ban Tobacco Lounges
Menifee (California) Considering Banning Hookah Businesses
YOU ARE NOT ON THE HOME PAGE of the OBSERVATORY on HOOKAH OR HEALTH (Narghile, "Waterpipe"™, Health, Risks, Dangers, Diseases, Tar, Nicotine, Cancer). CLICK HERE to go there !