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Hookah bars banned in Glen Cove

Glen Cove City Hall.

Glen Cove City Hall. Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Glen Cove has banned hookah lounges.

The City Council and Mayor Reginald Spinello unanimously approved a change to the zoning code Tuesday night, prohibiting such businesses from the city.

"It sends a nice message that we care about our youth," Spinello said of the ban, which he spearheaded. "We're trying to be a family-friendly community."

The zoning change defines a hookah lounge as an establishment where the business includes smoking tobacco or other substances through a hookah pipe.

The change will take effect after it is filed with the state secretary of state. Spinello suggested the change in May, and the code had to go the city planning board and to Nassau County before the City Council could vote.

The proposal had raised questions among planning board members because the activity was already effectively prohibited, since it was not expressly permitted in the code. But officials said that without a prohibition, someone might find a loophole.

Carol Meschkow, Nassau coordinator of the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island, lauded Glen Cove as the first city on Long Island to ban hookah lounges.

"Hookah establishments are popping up all over and have become the social rage of our youth despite all our education," Meschkow said. The increasing number of such lounges are "creating confusion for our youth over the dangers of the hookah," she said.

Some residents criticized the action as unfriendly to small businesses.

Jeff Peress, 42, a custodian and college student, said he wasn't a smoker but felt there was no reason to ban a business when people know the dangers of smoking.

"It might generate revenue and business for Glen Cove, especially downtown," Peress said during the public comment period of the meeting.


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