Don’t patronize hookah lounge’s student patrons

In Lexington, smokers inside public establishments are a rarity because of the city’s smoking ban. But that changed slightly with the opening of one place: Prince Hookah Lounge on South Limestone Street.

Although some may view this store’s opening as a sidestep around the smoking ban, polluting public air, we see it as a positive move for the community.

Prince Hookah is Lexington’s first hookah lounge and is not controlled by the smoking ban because more than half its sales come from tobacco products, a recent Kernel article reported.

If the ban’s purpose is to protect those who don’t want to be exposed to smoke in public places, it seems appropriate that the ordinance shouldn’t apply to Prince Hookah.

Because the lounge is practically a designated smoke shop, and because it markets itself around smoking hookah, no person with common sense would go to the lounge not expecting a smoke-filled room.

If a person wants to enjoy a coffee shop without smoke, there are multitudes to choose from in Lexington and this establishment can act as one of the few places that doesn’t force smokers outside.

Further, some have suggested that the hookah lounge and its proximity to campus would attract more students to start smoking regularly. This is an insulting statement.

The vast majority of UK students, many of whom have grown up in a tobacco state, are well aware of the health consequences of smoking tobacco. It doesn’t make sense to suggest a student would not make the same connection with hookahs.

Whether or not students choose to smoke — cigarettes or hookah — is their choice. Although it may not be a healthy decision, it is one they make conscious of the health hazards and is not something they’re lured into — especially through hookahs.

If anything, Prince Hookah gives Lexington a new option for smokers while introducing some culture to the nightlife landscape that wasn’t seen before. In addition, a UK student is a co-owner of the lounge, showing that young entrepreneurs can contribute to this city.

The health aspects, good or bad, are the users’ choice and have no place in the judgment of the lounge.