Public Health

'Just Because We Didn't Have a Lobbyist, Why Should We Have to Suffer?'


Hookah café owners in the Detroit area complain that Michigan's new smoking ban will put them out of business. Although the law forbids smoking in any establishment that serves food or drinks, it makes exceptions for cigar bars and casinos. Critics perceive class and ethnic bias in this distinction:

"It's a double standard," Akram Allos, owner of Sinbad Café in Dearborn, said while puffing on a mint-flavored hookah. "Just because we didn't have a lobbyist, why should we have to suffer?"…

"The law caters to wealthy special interests," said Mike Berry, owner of 360 Degrees Lounge and Grill in Dearborn, which offers hookah smoking. Berry and other hookah café owners say that lobbyists and politicians in Lansing can relate to cigar smoking and that the Detroit casinos wield great power. In contrast, the hookah café owners and Arab Americans lacked a lobbyist to press the issue, Berry said.

"It's discrimination," said Akram Allos, owner of Sinbad Café in Dearborn.

In Washington, D.C., by contrast, hookah bars were exempted from the city's smoking ban along with cigar bars. Perhaps hookah barkeepers in D.C. know more about lobbying.

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  1. Buy a box of cigars, set them on the counter with a price tag, and call yourself a cigar bar that happens to have hookahs.

    Problem solved.


    1. Not that easy. All cigar bars had to open by May 1, can only allow cigar smoking, must rent humidors, generate 10% of income from cigars/humidors and must be seperately ventilated if part of a larger establishment.

      An earlier version of the bill that became law did exempt hookah establishments, but anti-smoking forces did not want a proliferation of hookah bars with their young patrons, and it was stripped out.

      The hookah businesses should have hired lobbyists. They should have seen this coming. The bill was heavily debated for years.

      1. So, why can’t it be like the army and homo sex? Don’t ask don’t tell.

  2. Hookahs are for hipsters. Nobody cares about them this week, right?

    1. There are lots of ethnic arabs in Detroit, so this isn’t all about hipsters, at least not there.

      1. Particularly in Dearborn, birthplace of Henry Ford, home of the not on the dole Ford Motor Corporation and a damned nice town to live in.

        1. Hey, wait a minute. Grosse Pointe is a nice town too. And I just found out that Robusto’s, the cool bar down the street from us got itself classified as a cigar bar, so it will continue to be cool.

  3. Detroit. Putting everyone out of business is our business.

    1. Yes, but look at the upside: No one’s being exploited or posioned by evil capitalists.

  4. Libertarian Catch-22 at work again.

    I bet Reason staffers unwittingly post at least one example per day here.

    1. Smith knew that the Nonix was in serious trouble.

      Another blast. This time, the impact ruptured a govee tube above the ship’s secondary retty, causing thick poinnooas mist to fill the bridge.

      “Faavrogg!” Smith cried out, “See if you can stabilize that asternatium by vogalizing the tyricnal klinbirators!”

      1. This recipe makes no sense.

        1. It may look a little unusual, but give it a try it’s delicious.

          1. I sometimes add capers. It’s fantastic!

      2. Is that Vogon poetry?

    2. Quick Margarita Recipe

      10 shots tequila (use the good stuff, you cheapskate)

      7 shots Rose’s

      1-2 shots Cointreau

      Shake over cubed ice, pour over broken ice.

      Leave your frickin’ salt where it belongs – on the tortilla chips.

      Leave your frickin’ powdered ice where it belongs – in the kiddie drinks.

      1. Yeah, but… Rose’s? Seriously?

        1. You will note that this is the Quick Margarita Recipe.

          1. Zero to drunk in 60 seconds flat is pretty quick. Well played, R C.

          2. Very true, Dagny. Most people will hammer down this margarita like they do the watered down tastee-freez-arita at Chili’s.

            Hilarity ensues.

      2. That doesn’t sound bad, but I prefer freshly juiced/reamed lime juice. I always thought that Rose’s has a funky taste.

        1. I dunno. I posted a similar recipe at Urkobold a while back, and I recall liking it.

          1. If you can recall liking it, then it wasn’t strong enough.

    3. Dan, these kinds of places are made for smoking. These aren’t McyD restaurants where Teh Chilrens might be exposed to a stray smoke particle.

  5. In Columbus they exempted hookah bars too.

    Immediately thereafter, one of my favorite coffeeshops lost much of its clientele, and all of its vibe, to the hookah bar down the street.

  6. North Carolina hookah bars are facing the same problem with the new smoking ban there…

  7. Libertarian Catch-22 at work again.

    Well, they can’t really come out against smoking bans anymore, because those exist, and that’s the end of that, except for bitter losers yearning for the Confederacy, so yeah.

    “Dude, that shit’s racist. …No, the bad kind. Not against black people. The ones with restaurants by where we work. …I know!”

    1. I’m still against smoking bans. I won’t go to a bar where there’s indoor smoking, but if somebody else wants to I consider that their own goddamned business.

      1. Smoking bans are actually painful…. the thought that the government is going to regulate the behind-closed-doors actions of a voluntary collection of adults is appalling. But I have to admit that an evening out is much nicer now that we don’t have smoking in restaurants.

        A weird situation where a better outcome is produced by an evil action. Dammit. Having lived in public smoking free Florida for some years, a recent trip to rural Wisconsin was jarring. Every evening out ended with me and my clothing reeking of tobacco smoke. Really disgusting. Still, if you paid to build the bar, you should be able to set the rules…

  8. Dan’s not even trying anymore.

    1. If only he wasn’t even posting anymore.

      1. Shunning is a perfectly acceptable way to deal with inappropriate behavior in a public setting.

      2. If only he wasn’t even posting breathing anymore.

      3. He said he believed in order over on the Cinco de Mayo thread so I ordered him to leave. We’ll soon find out whether he’s a hypocrite.

    2. The Catch-22 is that if the government tried to pass a law limiting the influence of lobbyists, libertarains would complain about that as well.

      1. Janet lifted her head away from Precious, her mouth covered with cat fur and blood. “Don’t go outside, Mommy. The Pox is in the air. You can’t see it or taste it or smell it or see it or touch it or hear it but it’s there. The kitties are the first to go.” She took another bite.

      2. Shunning is a perfectly acceptable way to deal with inappropriate behavior in a public setting.

      3. Given that petitioning one’s government for redress of grievances is a constitutional right, libertarians would have a point, no?

        1. Any person or group of people has the right to petition the government — that includes paid lobbiest acting on behalf of a group of like-mined people.

          1. “lobbiest” that’s one of my worst in a while

            1. Oh, I just thought that meant the most lobby.

              1. Are you the most ath?

          2. Fine. Then don’t complain when their petitions are successful.

            1. There’s a difference, Dan. Can your gimlet eye detect it?

              1. What a silly question.

              2. Well, I guess you are free to complain if you want but you shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously when you complain about the results of your own ideology when put into practice.

                1. 1 lb of ram or bull penis
                  3 tb oil
                  1 onion, chopped
                  2 garlic cloves, chopped
                  1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
                  1 tomato, chopped
                  1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
                  salt and pepper

                  Scald the penis, drain and clean it. Place in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Remove the scum and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and slice. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion garlic and coriander until the onion is golden. Add the penis slices and fry on both sides for a few minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, add enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until tender. Add a little water from time to time to keep from burning.

                  1. Drain it? Seriously? That’s where all the flavor is!

                  2. STEVE SMITH WANT SCUM FROM PENIS!!!

                  3. “Ram’s penis is not a safe alternative to cigaretts.”

                2. No, I guess you can’t.

                3. Well, I guess you are free to complain if you want but you shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously when you complain about the results of your own ideology when put into practice.

                  Most libertarians are opposed to smoking bans. What’s being put into practice here is a restriction on freedom.

                4. So… fuck property rights. Eh, Dan?

      4. The solution isn’t to petition the government for redress, it is to limit the scope and size of government so it is less of a target for lobbying.


      5. No catch 22 involved for libertarians. If government power was properly limited, and statists like you didn’t support stupid limitations on freedom like smoking bans, there would be no need for lobbyists. Lobbyists are only necessary when big government oversteps their bounds, to make sure the big government regulation hits only your compeditors, instead of you.

      6. It’s touching that you really think that such a law would limit the influence of lobbyists, instead of driving it underground. Honestly, I wish I could bet that naive sometimes, ignorance being bliss and all.

  9. “Shunning is a perfectly acceptable way to deal with heretics in a public setting.”

    Fixed it for ya.

    1. How do you deal with favroggs in a public setting, Scotchy?

      1. You gotta hit ’em with a yunggburg nillubitzer.

        1. I cannot express my level of enjoyment over the absolute hilarious awfulness of your prose, Danny. Warty makes my hour every time he posts a clip. You’re like an inadvertent Santa Claus.

          1. And believe me, writers of satire get plenty of enjoyment as well when it goes over some fool’s head.

            1. It had been a piss-poor year for the Yelton family already, at it was only July. Andy Yelton disappeared back in March, and all his clothes, the good truck, and all the family’s meager savings disappeared along with him. Sally Jae Minnower down the street also disappeared around the same time. Not that anybody in the neighborhood really blamed Andy, except for the fact that he left a little girl without a father and a wife with no means to pay the rent. So Terri and Janet had to move into Terri’s sister Hallie’s place for the time being. Terri was in the process of trying to get her welfare payments increased now that she was a single mom, but that’s about all the motivation she was able to muster as far as a career went.

              1. So Terri and Janet had to move into Terri’s sister Hallie’s place for the time being.

                I kept waiting for the “I never believed any of the letters to Hustler were actually true, until . . . ” moment.

                1. That always comes right after the “9-inch” measurement.


  10. Critics perceive class and ethnic bias in this distinction:

    If the hookah bars were exempted too you could still say the same thing.

    1. I had a similar thought: even if hookahs were exempt, wouldn’t the ban still have a class/ethnic bias against cigarette smokers?

      “If smoking tobacco is deadly, then nobody gets to smoke”


      “Cigars, Casinos, Hookahs are Cool. Cigarettes are not. Get a real job, loser.”

      The former is a health argument, the latter is a class argument.

      1. “Hookahs are not a safe alternative to cigaretts.”

  11. Does this mean opium dens are okay? I always thought that if I ever turned to drugs, I’d become an opium addict.

    1. Opium dens have style all over the place, and they also have kitties.

      1. Opium-smoking kitties?

        1. Cats have their own opium gland, you fool. But yes, opium den kitties can take some monster pipe hits.

          1. I can haz opium?

            What I would really like to see is Bubbles smoking opium with his kitties.

            1. I would too, Dagny, but didn’t his girlfriend use government largesse to create the kitties for inmates program?

              Oh well, it’s Canada, so I guess it’s ok.

    2. There is no greater high than an opium high. None.

      1. I’ve found that it just makes me really, really, really, really relaxed. Very pleasant.

        1. I nearly fell asleep just reading that.

      2. There are many great highs; excellent coke, opiates, weed, ether, whatever. And they’re all different and excellent in their own ways.

        1. There is nothing more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge.

        2. I have no doubt–no doubt whatsoever–that Episiarch will be the next Timothy Leary, leading us into a new age of mind-altered reality.

          1. I’ll volunteer for any psychedelic experiments he wants perform.

            1. What’s great is that his altered reality revolution will be such a hit that libertarians–who, though often fans of chemicals, are more attached to reality–become a majority and save the species from extinction.

              1. “Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.”

                –Tom Waits on Fernwood Tonite

                1. Well, there you go!

                2. sixteen shells from a thirty-ought six?

        3. Nitrous oxide was fun. As a teen I worked in a Friendly’s-type restaurant in the late ’70s (any New Englanders here who remember Bergson’s?) and we used giant nitrous tanks to charge our whipped cream canisters. When they lost enough pressure to become useless for legal commerce, they became perfect for us gas-sucking employees. One night I gassed the whole crew: waitresses, dishwashers, busboys (and me, the cook). All night long, one by one, they made their way back and forth to the storage room and applied their lips to the tank. Best night ever.

          1. Agreed… nitrous is a fantastic high… super quick to come on, and super quick to dissipate. No problems with DUI after a night experimenting with nitrous oxide. And this from a guy who doesn’t do any of those drugs.

            I have had nitrous oxide at the dentist though… he had me stoned out of my gourd. Only morphine has had me more bombed than that. And morphine inhibits your mobility – hard to take the party on the road on opiates. (although I did walk 5 miles home from the hospital while obliterated on morphine. Don’t remember the middle 4.5 miles, but I remember leaving and arriving. Shocking that I made it to the right building.)

            1. I filled a big garbage bag with it for the drive home after work once, and I would not recommend it. Not that it wasn’t awesome.

      3. True.

    3. About ten years ago my best friend turned his spare bedroom into an opium den. He draped curtains from the ceiling all around the room. Bought tons of pillows, carpets, candles, & buddha figurines. No sunlight could get in the room. So when you where in there you would completely lose track of time when you were high. I’ve never slept better than I did in that room.

      1. Goddammit. I’ve always been curious about opium, but have never had a clue about where to get some.

        1. Very,very hard to procure. I had friends that would bring back from Grateful Dead shows, when they were still around. Usually, you end up having to grow your own supply. You use to be able to order seeds on the internet. I don’t no if that you can still do that anymore.

          1. Wow, my grammar is bad to day. Know = No.

            1. Due to the lingering effects, no doubt.

          2. I’m no botanist, but I don’t think you’ll find any biological difference between Papaver somniferum planted in order to make a garden pretty and that used for other purposes.

            Wouldn’t be a choice of mine for personal research, but after the Inevitable Breakdown(tm), it will be nice to remember things like that for one’s field expedient hospitals.

  12. You guys are already pretty well detatched from reality.

  13. Warty, I’m pissing my pants with your every post.
    Dan T., your cock is being fried by the minute, only you’re too fucking stupid to know it.

  14. If Warty is taking that obviously absurdist writing I did a few years back at face value then what can I do?

    Hey, enjoy the laugh.

  15. Wait a second–Dan T. is Tyler Florence?

    1. Hover your cursor over Dan’s e-mail link. Something is amiss.

  16. Small price to pay to have a Muslim sympathizer as President.

  17. With the amount of money that the various Prince Cafes around DC suck out of area college students, they should be able to afford the cream of the K Street crop. $10 per person minimum, no free tap water…assholes.

    1. Yeah! Those fuckers! ??

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