PTC getting hookah bar
Peachtree City is about to get a rather unique establishment offering Middle Eastern culture in the form of a “hookah bar” and Mediterranean restaurant.
The establishment will sell tobacco that will be smoked in special devices called hookahs in which the tobacco is heated in a device that mixes the tobacco into the steam released by the device. They are designed to be used by several people at the same time.
Cafe Phonecia, which will be located at 2771 Ga. Highway 54 West, was approved Thursday night for its beer and wine service license, but not until after council sought further information about the hookah activity.
The owners told the City Council that no one will be allowed to bring in their own tobacco to smoke; they will be required to purchase tobacco from the establishment.
It was noted that studies have shown that hookahs allow for a higher concentration of tobacco to be inhaled compared to cigarettes and cigars by a factor as much as 10 times, according to Rick Fehr of the Fayette County Health Department.
Fehr said studies have also shown that hookah tobacco also has the same carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals found in cigarette smoke, though the business owners contended that there are no additives and chemicals in hookah compared to cigarettes.
A representative of the establishment stated that the hookah is really smoked for the flavor of the tobacco among which are grape, apple, banana, and strawberry. It was also said that the smoke produced by the hookahs is a lighter smoke and that with the right air filtration system it won’t become a problem.
Councilman Eric Imker initially said he wanted to table the matter so he could pay a visit to find out more information. Ultimately council decided they could not withhold the beer and wine license based on any smoking that might go on at the establishment.
Councilwoman Kim Learnard said if council wanted to deal with smoke at bars, “Let’s start at Y-Knot and go from there.”
She clarified that she prefers to avoid such restrictions and let the free market determine whether a particular business is viable.
Because smoking will be allowed on premises, Cafe Phonecia will have to meet guidelines of the city’s smokefree ordinance, including a provision that anyone under 18 will not be allowed to eat or work there.
The motion to approve the license passed unanimously.
Imker said he still planned to pay a visit to the establishment, though he would not be sampling the hookah nor the alcohol.