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Drink alcohol or we'll fine you

Law of unintended consequences? Or just moronic law? Yet another one-size-fits-all "solution" turns out to have some serious problems in its implementation:

Of the roughly 20 hookah bars in New York City, about half are clustered along a short stretch of Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, known as Little Egypt. Here in the hazy cafes, owned mostly by Egyptian immigrants, men smoke fruit-flavored tobacco called shisha through water pipes called hookahs as they banter in Arabic, play chess or backgammon, or simply pass the day in a fragrant fog.

But big trouble has come to Little Egypt, causing the kind of jitters more often associated with the cigarette habit. Hookah shop owners say the city's Health Department has begun sending agents to Steinway Street to aggressively enforce the stringent smoking laws that took effect last spring - laws the owners had thought they could quietly sidestep.

Yes, but there's an exception in the law for "cigar bars," so these establishments are okay, right?


The owners have enlisted the help of their councilman, Peter Vallone Jr., who wrote to the city's health commissioner last week arguing that the shisha cafes are no different than the cigar bars that qualify for a legal exemption from the smoking laws. Mr. Vallone said that city law allows smoking if the bars draw at least 10 percent of their revenue from the sale of tobacco. Most of the shisha café owners say they earn well over half their revenue from tobacco.

But a Health Department official said yesterday that the cigar-bar exemption applied only to places that sell alcohol.

And they can't serve alcohol, because most of their clients are Muslims who don't drink.

So unless the law is changed, these businesses will be fined out of business by the fascistszealots at the Health Department, who have too much money in their budget, giving them the resources to employ agents to snoop around trying to catch people smoking at these bars.

Michael Bloomberg: Destroying free enterprise since 2003.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 10, 2004 7:05 AM.

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