A café owner was fined £1120 last week with her business becoming the first in Hackney to be successfully prosecuted for failing to prevent smoking.
Eren Hussein, who runs Havana Cafe, on Lower Clapton Road, was prosecuted by Hackney Council after environmental health officers discovered two members of the public smoking cigarettes at the café on February 25 2013.
Members of the environmental health team had been trying to work with the business for more than 12 months prior to the incident to provide a legal structure in which to allow shisha smoking. Smoking had been witnessed inside the building before and the proprietors warned in writing.
Magistrates at Thames Magistrates’ Court handed down a fine of £500 for the offence with full costs of £570 and a Victim Surcharge of £50 making a total of £1120 following the conviction under Section 8 of The Health Act 2006.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Environmental Health for Hackney Council, said: “The smoking ban in enclosed spaces exists to protect the public and members of staff from the dangerous effects of second-hand smoke. We try to work with businesses to help them provide a legal structure in which to allow smoking but we will prosecute owners who continue to flout the ban.”
The smoking ban came into force in England on July 1 2007 – making it illegal to smoke in all indoor public places. These included any workplace, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, private members’ clubs and even shisha bars. The reasoning behind the law was that passive smoking is harmful to non-smokers and in particular to those people who work in premises where people smoke.
However, a shisha bar owner who wishes to remain anonymous, questions why shisha bars should be on the list in the first place. He said to ELL:
“The ‘purposive rule’ of the legislation is for health reasons and to avoid second hand smoking…
“People who go to shisha places clearly go there to smoke…so the objective of the legislation fails in the case of shisha places.
“Someone who goes to shisha places and inhales smoke is no different to those who choose to smoke at home or even be in a room with friends to smoke shisha.”
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