After winning the battle against cannabis cafes and smoking lounges, the Canadian Cancer Society has turned their eye to shisha; and the hookah lounges that serve it across the province.
“We know that these products are dangerous to human health, they can cause cancer, we know the emissions from these products are as dangerous as second-hand smoke and we know a lot of young people are frequenting these lounges,” the Canadian Cancer Society’s Donna Pasiechnik said.
But the Saskatchewan government isn’t so sure.
In a statement the Ministry of Health noted “Shisha is a [sic] herbal product and does not meet the definition of tobacco in Saskatchewan.”
It’s a definition Pasiechnik disagrees with.
“There’s no labelling requirements in Canada for shisha, so you don’t even know what’s in that product. There may be tobacco in that product, and some testing of that product in North America of many of the shisha products that are labelled as non-tobacco – herbal – have, in fact, tobacco in them,” Pasiechnik continued, referring to a 2011 study.
Hookah lounges are banned in some of the country’s biggest cities, and some municipalities across the province, but the cancer society says it’s time for the province to step up.
“Five provinces in Canada have banned water-pipe lounges for all the reasons we’ve just discussed, and I think about five municipalities in Saskatchewan, so why would the province not do it?” Pasiechnik asked.
For their part the province says they are not planning to legislate hookah lounges.
“Any form of public consumption of cannabis will be illegal in Saskatchewan. This would include hookah lounges. Individual police services will be responsible for how they enforce the legislation on a case-by-case basis,” the Ministry of Justice wrote in an emailed statement.
“There are currently no plans to further regulate hookah lounges in Saskatchewan,” the Ministry of Health wrote.
Regina banned outdoor shisha smoking last year, but the city has no plans to review the Smoking Bylaw to include hookah lounges.
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