San Francisco Hookah Lounges Going Up In Smoke

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DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Department of Public Health has started snuffing out hookah lounges in the city, claiming they have failed to comply with city and state bans on indoor smoking.

The Dream Hookah Lounge on Polk Street was serving up the popular scented tobacco, or shisha, for the final time on Friday night.

“Today is our last day, legally by law,” said co-owner Kamel Asfour.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

The Dream Hookah Lounge is just the first of 17 lounges being targeted by city officials. Asfour said it’s unfortunate because the practice has become so trendy.

“Hookah is getting really popular. People are starting to smoke it a lot,” he said. “It’s just a nice, chill thing to do. Hang out with your friends, talk or go on your laptop.”

Many of the other lounges around San Francisco are expected to start closing over the next few days, a move that Asfour said owners are fighting.

“I think it’s ridiculous the way they’re shutting down a lot of lounges,” he said. “There are families that are relying on these types of businesses for support and income.”

Asfour said his family plans to try to convert Dream into some sort of legal lounge, but he’s not sure how viable an option that is as they have already let go of three workers.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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