On April 1st, smoking hookah inside establishments such as bars and cafes was officially outlawed in Toronto, Canada according to CBC Canada. This marks yet another unnerving precedent for the rest of North America. With an overwhelming vote of 34-3 to enact the ban, there seemed to be little voice to the contrary. Other cities have enforced similar bans in the past two years leaving hookah lounges to deal with an increasingly difficult path ahead.
The bans are due to the notion that today's youth "think it's a relatively safer form of smoking than cigarettes." While health concerns should definitely be at the forefront of political discussions, it's hard to understand a ban on something that people willingly engage in establishments that are primarily meant for smoking. In California there have been recent bans for hookah in rooms where food is being served, which is directed to eliminate the effects of unwanted second-hand smoke. While such a ban can be more agreeable, eliminating hookah lounges all together as in Toronto's case is simply head-scratching. Are we saying that the youth is so ignorant that we simply must remove any possibility of them engaging in activities that may be harmful for them?
As young and elderly adults, should we not be able to make our own informed decisions? If misinformation is the root these bans, should we not lobby for more awareness instead of brushing the "problem" under the rug? If this is the suggested solution for unhealthy choices of youth, should we not ban bars from selling alcohol, and industrial food giants from selling junk food? Where do we draw the line?
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