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Toronto city council votes to ban the use of hookahs in licensed establishments

TORONTO – Hookahs will no longer be allowed in licensed bars and restaurants in the city, after council voted to ban the practice Wednesday morning.

In a landslide vote of 34 to 3, council agreed to prohibit the use of hookahs, water pipes used to smoke flavoured tobacco called shisha, effective April 1, 2016.

Councillor Joe Mihevc voted in favour of the ban, saying the message behind the vote was to show people of Toronto that council is working to protect their health.

“We are going to do everything that we can to make sure that they air that you breath is free from contaminants that will cause ill effects to your heart or that are carcinogenic,” Mihevc said.

“It’s good news for Torontonians.”

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READ MORE: City council to debate hookah ban next week

Meanwhile, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti voted against the water pipe ban.

“I’m having a hard time getting rid of an industry, just like that, with a stroke of a pen,” Mammoliti said, adding his concern for economical losses.

“We are looking at getting rid of a complete industry, of which the City of Toronto gets revenue from, with no plan to make it back … they are going to bring things underground and that’s now how we do things.”

There are approximately 60 establishments that allow hookah smoking in Toronto.

“I understand the sensitivity for business for having rules changed by government,” Tory said.

“(But) we decided quite some time ago that we would not have smoking in restaurants, we are not going to have smoking in bars, we are not going to have smoking in offices and we are  not going to have smoking in a lot of places and this is smoking.”

Tory added that there is time for business to make adjustments before the changes are implemented spring 2016.

“I hope … we can take that time between now and April and have those businesses make some adjustments  to the new reality that shouldn’t really come as any surprise,” Tory said.

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“We don’t want kids to be doing that and we don’t want people to be doing that for the good of your health.”

 

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