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Will smoking ban extinguish the hookah lounge?

Hookah lounges – where customers use water pipes to smoke flavored tobacco – could face extinction with Virginia’s new smoking ban, owners tell the Loudoun Times-Mirror.

The smoking dens, operated out of restaurants, apparently are popular with students and Middle Easterners in Northern Virginia.  Nevertheless, the new law that goes into effect Dec. 1 will require restaurants – including those with hookah lounges – to provide separately ventilated rooms for smoking.

One owner tells the paper his hookah business accounts for 70 percent of his shop’s income.  He says he may just keep things as they are and pay the $25 fine every time he is cited for violation of the law.

By Peter Vieth

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