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Glen Cove mayor seeks to ban hookah bars

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, shown on Nov.

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, shown on Nov. 14, 2013. Credit: Barry Sloan

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello wants to ban hookah bars from the city before any open.

The city plans a hearing Tuesday on proposed changes to its zoning code to add hookah bars to prohibited business activities.

"There are no hookah lounges in Glen Cove, and I would like to keep it that way," Spinello said in an email. "They would not be permitted anywhere under the zoning."

The City Council could vote following the hearing, but Spinello said the city attorney had yet to determine whether the change would require a resolution from the planning board.

Spinello's proposal would define a hookah lounge as any establishment whose business includes smoking tobacco or other substances through a hookah pipe. Then it would add hookah lounges to the types of businesses that are prohibited.

At a pre-council meeting Tuesday Spinello said he planned to put the resolution to a vote in June, but several council members raised concerns that a hookah bar could open before the prohibition went into effect.

Councilman Michael Famiglietti suggested the city "should speed it up."

Last year, Patchogue amended its zoning to prohibit hookah bars. Hookah smokers inhale through water pipes that cool down the smoke. Hookah users may inhale much more smoke during a session than they would with cigarettes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this month, the city raised the age to 19 to buy e-cigarettes and restricted their advertising.

Carol Meschkow, Nassau coordinator of the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island, described the mayor as a "champion of tobacco control."

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