NY City Councilman 'calls for ban on creation of new hookah bars'

New York, Oct 25 (ANI): City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn) has called for a ban on creation of new hookah bars in the city.

Gentile argued that hookah smoke, which contains tar and carbon monoxide, could be just as dangerous as cigarettes.

"There are some people going there thinking that as long as it's not tobacco, that it's not harmful. It's been established that it is harmful," the New York Daily News quoted Gentile as saying.

Inspectors have trouble enforcing the indoor tobacco ban because they can't immediately tell the difference between tobacco-based shisha and the legal herbal alternative.

Some hookah bar owners and patrons blew smoke on Gentile's idea on Sunday.

"It's ridiculous," said Mamua Jeme, 36, of Astoria, smoking at El Khayam Cafe on Steinway St.

"Cigarettes are more of a vice. Hookah is a tradition."

"It may be harmful, but everyone I know knows what they're doing," said Guillermo Siminiani, 43, of Astoria.

Anti-smoking advocates welcomed the move.

"We support measures to protect New Yorkers from secondhand smoke," said Sheelah Feinberg, director of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free City.

Gentile's bill to crack down on hookahs is expected to be introduced Wednesday. (ANI)

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