New poll shows only 1 in 5 Edmontonians support restoring shisha smoking in lounges
EDMONTON -- Shisha smoking in lounges will be back up for debate in Edmonton next month and see council consider a proposal to allow shisha smoking in hookah bars once again.
- Read more: Edmonton to reconsider ban on shisha lounges
A new poll shows that the majority of Edmontonians are against the idea with only one in five people showing support for the idea.
The poll was conducted by Leger on behalf of Smoke-Free Alberta, and surveyed 506 Edmonton residents between Feb. 12-14.
The city banned shisha smoke from lounges last July, but owners of hookah lounges would like to see that ban overturned. They argue the practice of hookah smoking is a big part of Middle Eastern, African and southeast Asian culture.
“When shisha was banned by city council and city administration, they never spoke to us nor assessed the serious adverse effects it would have on our communities,” the Edmonton Hookah Cultural Community said in a written statement to CTV News Edmonton. “Instead, they listened to people who looked like them and suggested there to be something nefarious about our culture and questioned the right to consider this city our home.”
The organization said business owners have spent a considerable amount of money to address the concerns raised by council.
“We developed a solution where there would be no second hand smoke to workers at these establishments. We agreed to ban all minors and to convert to non-nicotine, herbal product.”
But anti-smoking advocates said this isn’t a cultural issue.
“You can’t run a business that harms other people, and that’s what we’re talking about,” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking and Health.
“Council should be focused on creating a level playing field for businesses and not giving a leg up to one business or another. The entire hospitality sector is suffering right now, and council should turn its attention to helping the hospitality industry as a whole.”