Near the University of Wisconsin's Madison campus, hookah smokers were disappointed last summer when a smoking ban stopped the Casbah Bar and Lounge from offering hookahs indoors. Sales plummeted from about 300 hookahs a month to about 30, for outdoor customers.I like the idea of smoothing over cultural differences. It's probably a good idea to develop that theme when dealing with the City Council and the health-oriented anti-smoking forces. Diversity trumps health in this town, right? Anyway, it has a shot.
"We've been experimenting with a nontobacco product, for $12, a mixture of hibiscus, eucalyptus and molasses," said Sabi Atteyih, the owner. "Hookah cafes are an important cultural experience, a place where Muslims and Jews and Catholics and people of color can sit side by side, and share."
April 19, 2006
"The hookah is 3,500 years old, it's part of culture, it's part of religion, and everyone loves it."
Here's a NYT article on the college tobacco hookah-smoking trend. And here's the part about UW: