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Louisville's Indoor Hookah, E-Cigarette Smoking Ban Goes Into Effect Monday

Changes to Louisville’s smoke free ordinancewill go into effect Monday. These changes —approved by Metro Council in May — update the ordinance that bans indoor smoking to include e-cigarettes and hookahs.

“Heart disease and cancer are the top two causes of death here in Louisville. Both are related to smoking,” said Director of Health and Wellness Dr. Sarah Moyer. “So anything we can do to protect the public from secondhand exposure will really help our health outcomes here in the city.”

Now, people won’t be able to smoke e-cigarettes or hookahs in indoor public places and work sites. There are exceptions, however, for vape shops and hookah lounges, said Deputy Director Matt Rhodes.

“Those facilities cannot smoke tobacco-based products,” he said. “They need to limit anyone under the age of 18 from entering those establishments. They cannot be food service establishments and they cannot sell alcoholic beverages.”

The update also limits all indoor hookah smoking to businesses that were in business as of May 1, 2017.

Rhodes said he believes the updated smoking ban will be an easy law to enforce and is simply a case of the laws reflecting the evolving tobacco market.

“Much like previous smoke free laws, we feel very comfortable that this will become a self-enforcing law,” he said. “Individuals will enforce as well as business owners. Patrons of those business will understand that they need to smoke outside with regards to e-cigs and hookah products.”

Department officials say they haven’t received any complaints over the ordinance, but it will cause some local establishments to change the way they conduct business.

One of those is Cafe 360 on Bardstown Road, which currently sells food and alcohol, as well as hookahs.

But since the building has a separate entrance that leads to the second floor, the spot will limit all of the hookah use to the upstairs to comply with the ordinance, while the downstairs will continue to operate as a bar and restaurant.

Vape shops and hookah lounges that are exempt under the new law must be registered with the Department of Health and Wellness by Monday. Registration forms are available here.

Copyright 2017 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Erica reports on environment and energy issues for WFPL, which run the gamut from stories about the region’s biodiversity to coal mine safety and pollution issues. In the name of journalism, she’s gone spelunking, tagged mussels and taste-tested bourbon. Erica moved to Louisville in June 2011 from Charleston, West Virginia, where she worked for the state’s public radio and television affiliate. Besides Kentucky and West Virginia, she’s lived in New Jersey, Minnesota and Illinois. She lives with her husband and son in Louisville.
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