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Va. court: Hookah lounge exempt from smoking ban

Tuesday - 12/17/2013, 4:13pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A divided Virginia Court of Appeals has ruled that a Blacksburg hookah lounge is exempt from the state's restaurant smoking ban.

In a 6-3 ruling Tuesday, the court said the She-Sha Cafe and Hookah Lounge is not subject to the ban because it's a retail tobacco store as well as a restaurant. She-Sha says most of its revenue comes from customers' use of hookahs -- tall water pipes that are used to smoke flavored tobacco.

The state law regulating indoor public smoking covers restaurants but specifically exempts tobacco retailers. The court's majority cited that exemption in ruling in She-Sha's favor.

The decision reverses a three-judge panel's ruling that She-Sha is covered by the ban because it also serves food.


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