The owner of a Middlesbrough shisha lounge has been fined a total of £2,638.20 after allowing customers to smoke in the premises.
During an unannounced visit to Manjaros on March 17, Environmental Health Officers found a number of customers smoking shisha pipes inside the Linthorpe Road premises.
Staff were observed preparing, lighting and serving customers lit shisha pipes in an enclosed area.
Shisha, or water-pipes, are used to smoke a number of substances, mainly flavoured or non-flavoured tobacco or herbal mixtures.
The process involves burning charcoal and inhaling the mixture of the coal and tobacco smoke, drawn through a bowl of water and into a hose from which the user inhales through the mouth.
Under the Health Act 2006, smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, in an enclosed or substantially enclosed premises is an offence.
Appearing before Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (October 17), Acorn Restaurants Limited, which owns Manjaros, pleaded guilty to failing to prevent customers from smoking in a smoke-free place, and was fined £700 and ordered to pay £688.20 costs, plus a £90 victim surcharge.
Acorn Restaurants Ltd also pleaded guilty to offences under the Serious Crime Act 2007 for providing facilities and equipment for smoking in a smoke-free place, thereby intending to encourage and assist offences of smoking. The company was fined £900 for this offence.
Company Director Rafkit Ali Khan pleaded guilty to failing to prevent customers from smoking in a smoke-free place, contrary to the Health Act 2006 and was fined £230, plus a £30 victim surcharge.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Smoking in enclosed places or in areas that are more than 50% enclosed has been illegal for more than 10 years.
“Manjaros had an outside balcony area which could be used legally as a smoking area.
“However when the officers visited the shutters were down and customers were being allowed to smoke in an area of the premises which was fully enclosed.”
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Shisha is a tobacco product and there are some very significant health risks to those people who smoke shisha pipes and to others who are exposed to the smoke.
“We want to ensure the safety of the public and the staff who work in these premises.
“Environmental Health Officers check that the smoke-free laws are being followed when they visit businesses in Middlesbrough.
“Anyone caught smoking in a smoke-free place or allows smoking in such places will be committing an offence and may be issued with a fixed penalty notice or prosecuted.”