Cumberland Times-News

May 11, 2013

Morgantown hookah lounge grandfathered into smoking ban

Ohio County turns down request for new business

SHELLEY HANSON
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

— MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — There’s only one hookah bar in the state of West Virginia, and after a recent Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health meeting, it appears it will stay that way.

In March, Wheeling resident Trey Santorine asked Ohio County health board members to relax the county’s smoking ban to allow for a new business that would allow smoking — a hookah bar. Hookah smoking involves using a water pipe and tobacco that is flavored.

While the board denied Santorine’s request, it was mentioned during the meeting that such a bar exists in Morgantown where a smoking ban also is in place.

Morgantown, along with its home county of Monongalia, enacted its smoking ban after the X-Hale Hookah Lounge, 218 Walnut St., had already opened in 2009, said owner Stephen Graziano. The Monongalia County Board of Health decided since the business was established and would never be allowed to hold a food permit, that it would be OK to grandfather it into the regulation.