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Will North Carolina’s new smoking restrictions snuff out local hookah bars?

Vicky Eckenrode

The indoor smoking ban North Carolina legislators recently adopted does not give a pass to hookah bars, where customers smoke flavored tobacco through a hookah, or water pipe.

Local hookah bars, which have grown in numbers in Wilmington during recent years, will have to figure out whether to modify to outdoor smoking or shut their doors when the new ban takes effect Jan.1, 2010.

The state law, which Gov. Bev Perdue signed May 18, 2009, prohibits smoking inside bars and restaurants.

Hookah bar owners did not get an exemption, something they are hoping could still happen before the end of the legislative session.

Cigar bars and private clubs, however, did get an exemption (see below for definition of private club).

User-contributed question by:
Richard Perry

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2 Responses to “ Will North Carolina’s new smoking restrictions snuff out local hookah bars?”

  1. On June 10, 2009 at 8:19 am Sam Darakjy wrote:

    It is non profit private clubs that got the exemption.

  2. On June 10, 2009 at 12:41 pm Judy Royal wrote:

    You are correct. Bars and restaurants can call themselves anything they want, but for the smoking ban the General Assembly defines a private club as “a country club or an organization that maintains selective members, is operated by the membership, does not provide food or lodging for pay to anyone who is not a member or a member’s guest, and is either incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in accordance with Chapter 55A of the General Statutes or is exempt from federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code as defined in G.S. 105-130.2(1). For the purposes of this article, private club includes country club.” So even if a bar doesn’t serve food and says it requires a membership, it’s not a private club per this law unless it meets the above definition.

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