Public Health – Seattle & King County is seeking an injunction against two Seattle hookah lounges for violating an indoor smoking law and local health code.
The public-health department filed papers in King County Superior Court Wednesday seeking an injunction against The Night Owl, located in Seattle’s University District, and Medina Hookah Lounge in South Seattle. The injunction is being sought for exposing employees and the public to tobacco smoke in violation of the state’s Smoking in Public Places Act and the local Board of Health Code, which mirrors state law, according to a news release.
The Night Owl and Medina Hookah Lounge were among six lounges that received notices in October 2013 from King County officials ordering them to stop allowing patrons to smoke from water pipes on their premises. Both the Night Owl and the Medina Hookah Lounge appealed to the King County Hearing Examiner, claiming that they are exempt from the indoor-smoking law because they are private clubs.
In February 2014, the hearing examiner issued a decision to uphold the violations and identified each lounge to be a public place. Public Health said it offered the two lounges an opportunity to sign an operating agreement allowing the use of non-combustible material, such as steam stones, and ensuring minors would not be allowed entry, but neither accepted the proposed agreements.
“Hookah smoke is as addictive as traditional cigarettes,” said Patty Hayes, Public Health interim director. Requesting a court order “is a measure of last resort, but it is necessary now to ensure all our businesses are protecting the health of employees and the public.”