Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

DOH responds to our letter about illegal hookah, cigar bars

Good news: Our letter about potentially illegal hookah and cigar bars in the city is getting reaction. (See our earlier post for the letter.)

Dr. Saul Levin, interim director of the city’s Department of Health, wrote back to us, saying that he is”deeply concerned about the proliferation of [h]ookah bars” and that he is exploring options.

Now, according to news reports, including this story by dcist, it appears as though the department is considering forming a task force.

We were interested about some of the explanations given to dcist about why the bars haven’t applied for an exemption from the smokefree law. Apparently the establishments didn’t think they needed to get a certificate of exemption.

Really? If you’re opening a business, isn’t it incumbent on you to check out what the rules are before you open? And if you want to open a business that allows smoking in a city with a smokefree workplace law, wouldn’t you look into how to do that?

We are pleased the city is taking action. We’ll keep you posted when we learn more.




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