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No smoking. Except for hookah lounges

December 06, 2011

I’m troubled — troubled by the inequity found in double standards and discrimination evident in Burbank demonstrated by its smoking ordinance.

Within a specific parameter downtown, no one may legally smoke but for some apparent exemptions predicated on dubious justifications whose true cause can only be guessed.

Two of the flagrant violations to equitable treatment are found at Café O and Gitana, two hookah lounges. They belch prodigious clouds of tobacco smoke into the very Burbank air the ordinance was created to render cleaner and healthier for all.

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The courtyard at Video Symphony between these hookah lounges — which sports not one but three signs indicating no smoking in Burbank — has, instead, become a smoker’s Mecca that is entirely ignored by law enforcement.

You can’t walk past these establishments without lungs full of cancerous vapors — vapors the retirees living above these businesses have no chance to escape from.

San Francisco health officials have moved to shut down hookah lounges because they recognized that tobacco smoke from any source is equal in its destructive effects on human health; not to speak of the fundamental inequality that allow one to smoke where another is forbidden.

Such apparent double standards in Burbank erode regard for government, law and authority, as much as baseless discrimination sows the seeds of discontent that grate upon the sense of individual and communal peace, harmony and fairness.

No smoking in Burbank ought to mean just that, for all. For the sake of healthy citizens, I ask the leaders of our city to enforce the law equally.

Michael E. White

Burbank

 
 

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