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Shisha businesses in Cardiff are being warned about unannounced inspections

Shisha lounges or bars in Cardiff are being warned that they have to comply with smoke-free law or they face being prosecuted through the courts. This follows an education and enforcement campaign between the Shared Regulatory Service and South Wales Fire & Rescue Service which started in August 2017. 

October 3rd, 2019

In February 2017, all known shisha lounges in Cardiff recieved a letter advising the management of their duty to comply with smoke-free legislation and that the granting of planning permission did not automatically make their shisha bar compliant with the law.

This letter was then followed up by visits from the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, to all known shisha businesses in the CardifShisha pipef area to give them educational material and guidance on how to minimise fire risk.

Enforcement activity then began between the Shared Regulatory Service and the Fire service in February 2019, when officers visited 10 known businesses in the Cardiff area. 

Cllr Michael Michael, Cabinet Member responsible for the Shared Regulatory Service at Cardiff Council is behind the campaign and said:

“Following an extensive education campaign and one-to-one visits to advise these businesses what they can and cannot do, enforcement began in June 2019 to see if these businesses had listened to the Authorities and were complying with the law.

“The six businesses that were actually open at the time of the visits were allowing people to smoke the shisha bongs in either fully enclosed of substantially enclosed rooms. The majority of the shisha lounges also failed to display compliant ‘No Smoking’ signage within their business

“All of the shisha lounges visited were not abiding by the law, so legal action was taken. To date four of these businesses and the associated company director in each instance have been prosecuted.

“The highest fine imposed by the court this year was over £3,000 for the business, with the company director ordered to pay an additional £2,640. I am pleased the courts are now taking this matter more seriously with the levels of fines that are being imposed."

Cardiff currently has 13 known shisha lounges, but planning applications continue to be received for new premises wishing to make shisha pipes available to their customers.

Cllr Michael continued:

“Since smoking was banned in UK Law, there has been an increase in the number of shisha lunges in Cardiff and there seems to be a misconception that smoking tobacco through water is not as damaging as smoking a cigarette.

“A World Health Organisation report iterates that whilst the water does absorb some of the tobacco nicotine, shisha smokers can be exposed to a sufficient dose that can cause addiction. The report suggests that a typical water pipe smoking session can last between 20 and 80 minutes, so the smoker may be inhaling the equivalent amount of smoke generated by smoking at least 100 cigarettes.”

“Given this, shisha lounges have to abide by the provisions of smoke-free legislation and we want to make it clear to all these businesses that are inspections will continue and legal action will be taken against any business found in breach of smoke-free legislation.”