Is it time to ban hookahs in Ontario?

Hookahs, also known as water pipes shisha, narghile or hubble bubble, seem to be replacing cigarettes as young adults across North America catch on to its rapidly spreading popularity.
The journal Pediatrics published a study, "Water Pipe Smoking Among North American Youths," conducted by a team at the University of Montreal, showing that 23 per cent of 871 study participants reported smoking a waterpipe at least once in the previous year. While most reported smoking hookahs only on rare occasions, about four per cent of the participants said they smoked hookahs at least once a month.
Hookah smoking has been practised for centuries, but was on the wane in the last century, Dr. Wasim Maziak, an epidemiologist who studies tobacco addiction at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, says. "It used to be old men in the Middle East smoking this raw tobacco."
But in the 1990s the trend resurged, and Maziak suggests that this was because in days gone by shisha smokers had to prepare their own blends but now commercially prepared product became available, in a range of flavours such as apple and even Earl Grey tea.
This trend is gaining public attention and concern because of its health and safety risks. CTV News notes that in a number of places, laws aimed at keeping bars and restaurants cigarette-free don’t ban the aromatic smoke swirling from these exotic waterpipes. “From a public health standpoint, we really do need to nip this in the bud before we’ve got a hookah lounge on every corner," says Pippa Beck, a policy analyst with the Non-Smokers Rights Association. "It really is a problem, and certainly for young people who otherwise wouldn’t smoke cigarettes.
They seem to think this isn’t a big deal."
The "Water Pipe Smoking Among North American Youths" study finds that water-pipe smoke contains nicotine, carbon monoxide and carcinogens, and may contain greater amounts of tar and heavy metals than cigarette smoke.
Though anti-smoking laws are almost diminishing cigarette smokers in public spaces, hookah smokers can and do indulge in bars and restaurants. CTV News notes that “In some cities, clean air laws cover only the smoking of tobacco — which sometimes provides an out for hookah bars that claim they offer tobacco-free product. In other places, exemptions are given to this type of establishment”.
The achievements in laws against cigarette smoking have been hard-fought. Perhaps the hookah-trend will start similar movements, especially if more research and evidence is available proving its negative health risks. Until then, it seems young adults will continue to indulge in this exotic and perhaps mistakenly harm-free activity in bars and lounges without any restraint. 
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