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Hookah lounge gets 2nd chance to dodge smoking ban

A Blacksburg hookah lounge has won a second look from the Virginia Court of Appeals in its battle to avoid the state’s restaurant no-smoking law.

The “She-Sha Café and Hookah Lounge” offers customers the traditional middle eastern experience of smoking flavored tobacco in hookah pipes. She-Sha also offers food, however.

According to the state Health Department, the food sales mean She-Sha qualifies as a restaurant and must conform to the 2009 restaurant smoking ban. The Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act states that “no person shall smoke in any restaurant in the Commonwealth.”

She-Sha claims Virginia law provides an exception for retail tobacco stores, but a two-judge majority of the Court of Appeals panel failed to accept the business’ interpretation. Dissenting was Judge William G. Petty.

The full Court of Appeals granted a rehearing Tuesday.

She-Sha is represented by Blacksburg lawyer Andrew P. Connors.

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