October 4, 2012 10:10:29 AM
CORINTH -- Alex Al-Quawwas wants to expand his business with a hookah lounge, where people would be able to smoke a non-tobacco product using a hookah.
The issue before Corinth officials is whether the activity violates the city's public smoking ban, according to the Daily Corinthian. A hookah is an instrument generally used for smoking flavored tobacco. It includes a water basin through which the smoke passes before inhalation.
"I want to do it right and do it legally," said Al-Quawwas, who owns JT's Falafel and Kababs.
He said hookah lounges are popular in some areas as they allow people to enjoy smoking after a meal.
"Basically it's honey with molasses," he said, describing the product he would offer for smoking.
He said he would supply the hookahs, which he described as like a water pipe; people would not bring hookahs to the business. Al-Quawwas said it would be the only smoking product his business would offer. He said the "smoke" produced is steam, like that produced by an electronic cigarette.
"The smoking ordinance ... defines smoking as using tobacco basically in any form," said city attorney Wendell Trapp. "I think his suggestion is this is not tobacco, therefore it is not a violation of the smoking ordinance."
Trapp said the packaging indicates it is not tobacco and "it does say components of natural plants."
The board of aldermen delayed a decision until Trapp received more information on the product.