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Local Hookah Lounge Agrees to Eliminate Tobacco Use

September 12, 2012

Tacoma, WA - Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reached a settlement with the owners of the Venus and Mars hookah lounge in Tacoma to stop the smoking of tobacco products in their lounge. The Health Department filed a complaint against the owners on April 26, 2012, in Pierce County Superior Court alleging they were in violation of the State’s Smoking in Public Places law as well as the Health Department’s code pertaining to tobacco use in public places.

“This is an important step for the health of our community, especially for young adults,” noted Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, Director of Health at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “Some wrongly believe that smoking tobacco via hookah pipes is harmless or safer than smoking cigarettes, but we know it has serious health impacts.”

Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco products. The inhaled smoke and the secondhand smoke created is harmful to health. In one hour hookah smokers inhale 100-200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. Research has shown that after the smoke passes through the water, it still contains high levels of toxic compounds including carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. It also contains 36 times more tar than found in a single cigarette.

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the nation and Washington State. Each year, about 440,000 people across the country and 1,000 in Pierce County die from tobacco related causes. While just under 17% of all adults in Pierce County smoke tobacco, about 20% of high school seniors and 22% of young adults between 18 and 28 years of age smoke.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

Media Contact:

Frank DiBiase, Environmental Health Division (253) 798-7674 fdibiase@tpchd.org

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