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Full Va appeals court to review hookah ruling

Tuesday - 5/7/2013, 1:51pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The full Virginia Court of Appeals will consider whether a Blacksburg hookah lounge is subject to the state's restaurant smoking ban.

A divided three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled last month that the She-Sha Cafe and Hookah Lounge is covered by the ban because it serves food. The full appeals court agreed Tuesday to reconsider the ruling.

She-Sha says most of its revenue comes from customers' use of hookahs -- tall water pipes that are used to smoke flavored tobacco. The lounge claims that as a tobacco retailer, it is exempt from the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act's prohibition against smoking in restaurants.

However, a Montgomery County judge and the appeals panel agreed with the Department of Health that that establishment fits the definition of a restaurant.


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