RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The full Virginia Court of Appeals will consider whether a Blacksburg hookah lounge is subject to the state's restaurant smoking ban.
A divided three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled last month that the She-Sha Cafe and Hookah Lounge is covered by the ban because it serves food. The full appeals court agreed Tuesday to reconsider the ruling.
She-Sha says most of its revenue comes from customers' use of hookahs — tall water pipes that are used to smoke flavored tobacco. The lounge claims that as a tobacco retailer, it is exempt from the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act's prohibition against smoking in restaurants.
However, a Montgomery County judge and the appeals panel agreed with the Department of Health that that establishment fits the definition of a restaurant.