Salina City Commissioners Monday addressed the topic of smoking, and to be precise, hookah and vapor bars.
Salina City Manager Jason Gage told commissioners that there are currently two vapor bars operating in Salina. There are not any hookah bars operating.
In general, a hookah bar is a tobacco bar. There is a request to open a non-tobacco one in Salina. A tobacco bar would be illegal under Salina’s current smoking ordinance.
A hookah is a waterpipe used to pass charcoal heated air through a tobacco mixture and ultimately through a water-filled chamber. The charcoal or burning embers are placed on top of a perforated aluminum foil and the tobacco mixture is placed below. The user inhales the water filtered smoke through a tube and mouthpiece. The water lowers the temperature of the smoke. Hookahs are often shared by several users in a smoking session. The tobacco mixtures used in the hookahs are shisha, boory, narghile, goza, arghileh, or hubble bubble. They vary in composition, with some having flavorings and additives that can reduce the nicotine content.
A vapor bar uses e-gigarettes. An e-cigarette is a battery powered device that allows users to inhale a vapor containing nicotine or other substances.
Gage said that there is a growing concern that these types of businesses atttract underage patrons. Right now neither type business is regulated in Salina.
The planning commission and city commission will address the issue in the near future.
City commissioners Monday approved a 90 day moratorium on the businesses. No new vapor or hookah bars can open. Those that are already open can remain open.