Sheffield shisha bar 'which flouted smoking laws' has licence to operate rejected

The Mint Paris Lounge in London Road
The Mint Paris Lounge in London Road
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Owners of a Sheffield shisha bar have had their application for a licence rejected after owners continually flouted anti-smoking legislation.

The licence on the Mint Paris Bar, in London Road, had expired and the applicant, Zobia Rafique, had applied to the council to serve late night refreshments and to open until 2am, seven days per week.

Members of Sheffield City Council’s licensing sub committee took the decision after hearing objections and evidence from the authority’s director of public health, Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board, licensing enforcement staff, and environmental health.

Last year the venue’s then-owner Hassan Butt was charged with failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place, contrary to section 8(4) of the Health Act 2006.

Butt pleaded guilty by letter to Sheffield Magistrates’ Court and was fined £1,800 for two offences with costs of £806 and a surcharge of £170 – total £2,776.

The previous October, Butt pleaded guilty to failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place and was ordered to pay £2,327, including costs.

The meeting was told that the current applicant is a relative of Butt, and that a further prosecution is on the cards for owners again breaching smoking laws.

Licensing enforcement officer Georgina Hollis told the meeting: “There’s just been a blatant disregard. They were told by magistrates not to do it again and have blatantly ignored them.

There’s been no attempt to comply with the legislation. I have also witnessed people smoking shisha inside the premises.

“I have no doubt that if the licence wasn’t granted today, it will continue to function as a shisha bar.”

Under current legislation, shisha pipes have the same restrictions as consuming other forms of tobacco in licensed premises - consumption is only allowed outside and in designated areas.

Many premises erect canopies in outside areas for shisha smoking to take place, but the practice was taking place at The Mint indoors, the hearing was told.

There are around 11 shisha bars operating in the Sheffield area, compared to around 50 in Manchester.

Sheffield City Council has pursued 18 prosecutions against shisha bars in the city, with a further six to come.

In his letter of objection, the council’s director of Public health Greg Fell wrote: “People smoke shisha for much longer periods of time than they smoke a cigarette, and in one puff of shisha you inhale the same amount of smoke as you’d get from smoking a whole cigarette.

“The average shisha smoking session lasts for an hour and research has shown that in this time you can inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 cigarettes. The risk to health could be more significant for those who smoke shisha as opposed to cigarettes.”

The venue’s owners have the right to appeal the decision.