Exemptions for hookah bars in clean indoor air legislation: a public health concern

Public Health Nurs. 2010 Jan-Feb;27(1):49-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2009.00826.x.


Popularity of waterpipe smoking or hookah smoking in the United States has been growing for some time now among youth and young adults. Currently, many cities and states have exemptions that allow hookah bars to remain in operation despite the passage of clean indoor air legislation. From a public health perspective this is concerning for many reasons. One public health concern with the increase in popularity of this type of tobacco use is the associated health effects. Another concern is that hookah smoke produces a sweet smelling aroma making it less obvious that patrons and employees of hookah bars are inhaling noxious fumes from mainstream smoke, as well as the toxins from the charcoal that is used to heat the tobacco. The purpose of this paper is to discuss smoke-free air legislation in relation to hookah use, the public health implications of exempting hookah bars from current smoke-free legislation, and implications for the public health nurse in protecting the public from the dangers of second-hand smoke, and limiting this new form of tobacco use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Charcoal / adverse effects
  • Equipment Design
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Lobbying
  • Nurse's Role
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Public Health Nursing / organization & administration
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Water*
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Water
  • Charcoal