Where There’s Smoke, There’s Hookah

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

A new trend that’s growing across America has now arrived in the City of Auburn Hills.

Exhale Hookah Lounge is scheduled to open this Friday, July 27th at 2723 University in the Auburn Crossing Shopping Center.

We were first introduced to “Hookah” a few months ago when approached by owners Fadi Pattah and Rimi Hirmiz.  Although the concept was new to us, we soon learned that this form of tobacco smoking has been practiced around the world for centuries … and legally permitted by the State of Michigan.

Hookah is a “social style” of tobacco smoking which originated in ancient Persia and India. A water pipe is used to smoke tobacco specially made in a variety of flavors (e.g., apple, mint, cherry, chocolate, coconut, licorice, cappuccino, and watermelon).

How does it work?  Well, the tobacco is heated and its smoke passes through the Hookah pipe.  Then, the patron draws the tobacco smoke out of the pipe through a mouthpiece attached to a rubber hose.  The social aspect of the activity is that the hose is often passed from person to person in a group.  Like smoking cigarettes, Hookah smoking is intended to be an adult activity.  Patrons must be over 18 to enter the lounge per State law.

The owners recently received an exemption permit from the Michigan Department of Community Health to open the lounge.  Many may be aware that smoking is banned in all public places and work sites under the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law, which was implemented in May 2010.  However, a “Tobacco Specialty Retail Store” exemption was carved out of that statue for Hookah businesses.  Under this exemption, all types of tobacco products (e.g., shisha, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) may be smoked inside the lounge.

We just wanted to keep folks in the loop about another business opening up in our community.