DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit suburb known for an abundance of hookah cafes has ordered that no new ones be opened in the next six months.
On a 5-2 vote last week, the Dearborn City Council approved a 180-day moratorium on new hookah cafes or cigar bars.
The move comes amid concern that some establishments are operating illegally and hurting the community's health.
Moratorium opponents say it will harm business and unfairly targets establishments popular with Arab Americans. Dearborn has large Arab and Muslim populations. Observant Muslims in the community don't drink alcohol, so some gravitate toward hookah cafes to socialize and relax.
Hookahs are water pipes smoked with flavored tobacco. Critics say they cause health problems and tobacco addictions among young people.
Troy restricted hours at hookah cafes last year because officials said they were attracting trouble.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr. said his city is not targeting its 15 licensed hookah cafes, but the additional 15 or so cafes that do not have licenses.
The state and Wayne County are responsible for defining and enforcing tobacco regulations, but the county does not have enough resources to check whether the unlicensed hookah cafes are using herbs rather than tobacco, which would allow them to operate without state approval, O'Reilly told the Detroit Free Press for a story Monday (http://on.freep.com/1o4IKlS ).
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com