Guidance for operators of shisha lounges
If you are the owner of a café, bar or restaurant which sells or supplies shisha there are certain legal requirements that you must comply with.
Shisha including herbal shisha is liable for excise duty. It is your responsibility to ensure that excise duty has been paid . For further guidance go to the website of HMRC.
Health warnings and labelling
Shisha tobacco products must show statutory picture and text health warnings.
The packaging that the shisha is supplied in must say "Smoking kills" or "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you" on 30% of the packaging. On the back of the packaging it must also have a picture warning on 40% of the surface.
If you are selling 'loose' shisha - e.g. in a small packet or in a bowl - our advice is that you still need to comply. This could be overcome by giving the warnings and printing the pictures on the shisha menu and displaying them the customer makes their order and labelling the shisha pipes.
The packet must also carry a code marking to identify the place and date of its manufacture. For more detailed information go to Business Companion
Age-restricted sales and signage
It is an offence to sell shisha containing tobacco or nicotine inhaling products to anyone under the age of 18. If you think someone is under-age you need to ask them for proof of age. An A3 sign saying "it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18" must be displayed. The letters must be at least 36mm in height. For more detailed information go to Business Companion.
Advertising any tobacco product is limited to a single A5 sign at the point of sale. The sign must include the warning "Smoking kills" or "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you".
Posters in windows, banners on the side of premises or any other sign which carries a shisha brand or logo are all prohibited. For more detailed information go to Business Companion.
Health Act 2006 - the smoke-free law
Smoking is banned in virtually all enclosed public places and work places. This includes the smoking of shisha through a water pipe. Water pipes can only be smoked outside in the open air, or where a smoking shelter is at least 50% open - all of the time. to the smokefree regulations 2006.
A smoking shelter must be at least 50% open - all of the time. Doors, windows and tent/marquee side-panels will be classed as part of the wall if they can be shut or rolled up. If rugs, carpets or sheeting are used to cover up the spaces so that it is no longer at least 50% open, this will be in breach of the legislation.
Planning permission and building control
If the use of a building changes or physical changes are made to a building or a smoking shelter is erected, then planning permission is likely to be required. If a new structure is erected or an existing building is changed, an application for approval under Building Regulations may also be required.
The owner of the business must make sure that a written Fire Risk Assessment is undertaken. There must be means of tackling a fire. For example, fire extinguishers and persons trained to use them. There must be adequate means of raising an alarm in the event of fire. All furnishings and drapes need to make the required standards so as not to ignite easily.
For more information go to the website of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
On conviction for an offence a fine may be imposed, or in some cases imprisonment. The maximum penalty varies dependent on the offence committed.
To see an article where the City Council and its partners will take enforcement action against any businesses which may be non-compliant, go to the Chronicle of the 4 February 2019.