Milford hookah lounge again ordered to close

By Pamela McLoughlin, Register Staff

MILFORD — The city Health Department has ordered the Olive Tree Hookah Lounge to close, following an inspection of the premises on opening night Friday by city sanitarians.

Health Director Dennis McBride, saying the practice is like a “cigarette plus,” said Saturday he based the order on the health hazards the practice presents. McBride said the owners have a right to appeal to the state, but he intends to enlist every resource possible to not only close the new hookah bar for good, but also to close all others in the state based on the hazard.

He claimed the hookah pipe is unsanitary because it was found during inspection that sections of the hoses used for smoking cannot be adequately cleaned, increasing the potential for the spread of germs that can transmit diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and more.

Inspectors also found the sweet aroma of the place because of spices added to the smoking material misleads people into thinking they’re not smoking tobacco, when in fact they are, which contains the addictive agent nicotine. He also said there were no “menus” or listing of products and their contents available to customers.

“They target young people,” McBride said. “It’s a very easy way to slip into tobacco use. … I put this right up there with the vendors who sell cigarettes to underaged kids.”

The Health Department ordered the club to close June 19, citing dangers of smoking tobacco through a pipe and statutes that ban smoking in public places. McBrie rescinded the order Friay, then issued a new order Saturday after inspectors had a chance to see the place in operation.

Hookah bar owner Sammer Karout could not be reached for comment Saturday night and it could not be determined whether the business closed as ordered. McBride said if they do not follow the order, it will not fare well for them in any appeal process.


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