Monday, March 22, 2010

Keeping Community

In light of resent non smoking bans across the state of North Carolina many institutions and restaurants have posted signs banning smoking from taking place in the establishment. Some of these restaurants and bars have also created an outdoor area for smokers to come and enjoy a night out, without having to give up an hour or so of smoking.

Conversely, one chain of business, the hookah bars, has found a way around this new ambitious law to have a smoke free state. They have chosen to simply ignore it. But of course the law doesn’t take kindly to those who ignore it. So in hopes of keeping their business and not be classified as breaking the law; hookah bar owners have found a loophole in the regulation. [1] Their justice is found where the law defines “smoking” as “the use or possession of a lighted cigarette, lighted cigar, lighted pipe, or any other lighted tobacco product.”

However the hookah is a large vase shaped water pipe. The smoke is drawn by the user through the hookah tube but before the smoke can be drawn the mixture of tobacco and flavoring needs to be heated. This is where the minor technological flaw in the law resides. The tobacco is not ever “lit” but instead heated by charcoal. In the process the charcoal never touched the tobacco. There is a thin screen of metal or piece of foil that provides for a physical barrier between the two.

In aspects of the establishments architecture, its not so much that the design of the space is pleasing to the user as much as the built environment allows for the users needs. Smokers of all ages are flocking to the 20 some hookah bars in North Carolina because their physical needs to socialize and smoke are being met here.

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