The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has asked a judge to order the operators of a local lounge to stop allowing the smoking of hookah pipes in their establishment.
The department filed paperwork in Pierce County Superior Court earlier this month seeking an injunction against the Night Owl, 5211 South Tacoma Way.
The department contends the lounge is in violation of the state’s Smoking in Public Places law and local resolutions, which forbid smoking inside buildings open to the public.
The Night Owl continues to allow people to use hookahs – a type of water pipe through which people smoke flavored tobacco – despite repeated warnings from health department inspectors that it must stop, court records show.
The lounge advertises itself on Facebook as a place where friends can relax together while smoking quality tobacco and listening to good music.
“Be yourself, bring down your friends and sink into conversation,” its Facebook post reads. “Let our vibrant beats and enticing tastes lift your mind and bring your senses alive.”
Efforts to reach lounge operators for comment were unsuccessful.
Health department director Anthony L-T Chen said smoking tobacco through hookahs can be worse for human health than smoking cigarettes.
“Establishments that promote the use of hookah pipes target a young audience that is most vulnerable to the dangers of tobacco, and this is a threat the health department takes very seriously,” Chen said.
Last month, the department reached a settlement with another Tacoma hookah lounge – the Venus and Mars – in which lounge owners agreed to stop allowing people to smoke tobacco through hookahs at their establishment. The Venus and Mars now uses flavored steam stones in its pipes.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644