Smoking ordinance conflicts with Narghile Nights’ new location

Amanda Thompson

New Fort Collins' smoking ordinance conflicts with local hookah lounge Narghile Nights, which recently moved from 621 S. College Ave. to Old Town. (Collegian File Photo)
New Fort Collins’ smoking ordinance conflicts with local hookah lounge Narghile Nights, which recently moved from 621 S. College Ave. to Old Town. (Collegian File Photo)

Narghile Nights took a hit from the new smoking ban, and plans for future investments have gone up in smoke.

The Fort Collins hookah lounge, which recently moved to Old Town, is holding off on further investments in their new location due to the recently passed smoking ban that conflicts with their relocation.

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An ordinance was passed by Fort Collins City Council in February that prohibited smoking and electronic cigarette use at city-approved special events, city-owned property and the dismount zone in Old Town. The ordinance will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

According to Delynn Coldiron, the interim neighborhood services manager of Fort Collins, Narghile Nights had submitted an application for their business to be exempt from the smoking ban. After Jan. 1, 2016, no new hookah lounges or tobacco-related businesses will be allowed to operate within the smoke-free zones in Old Town.

“Their application did get approved,” Coldiron said. “However, they are still waiting to hear back from their city attorney staff with the final decision.”

Aria Khosravi, the owner of Narghile Nights, said he was aware of the smoking ban during Narghile Nights’ relocation process, but did not know the ban directly applied to the hookah lounge as well.

“I thought it was only an outdoor smoking ban,” Khosravi said. “However, I’m pretty confident that we’ll come up with an agreement with city council. I spoke with city council, a lot of people within the Fort Collins community and the individual who wrote the smoke-free law, and everyone seems very accommodating and understanding and so far just willing to figure something out.”

Khosravi said he also requested an amendment to the smoking ban.

“All I’m asking is that they make an exception to retail tobacco stores,” Khosravi said. “You have to go through a lot of very hard obstacles to comply, and the fact that new air is constantly brought into smoke establishments, it is not really affecting the outside public. People can either choose to go into a smoking establishment or not.”

Lauren Bowie, an employee at Narghile Nights and conservation biology junior at Colorado State University, has been working at the hookah lounge for almost two years.

“I personally think that the city has the best interest in the health of the public, which all of us at Narghile Nights are for,” Bowie said. “The owners spent a lot of money on the installation of an air ventilation system in our new home, and all of the smoke is contained within our building. I don’t quite understand how our business impacts the non-smoking portion of the public.”

According to Bowie, Narghile Nights has complied with all of the city’s rules when they moved to their new location and hopes that an agreement can be made soon.

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“From what I understand, Aria is working with the city to come to a compromise regarding the new smoking laws,” Bowie said. “He is cooperating with the city to see if some sort of agreement can be made, and I know that he has been complying with any new standards the city has implemented in our new location. I am very hopeful that we can work with the city and turn our current location into our new home.”

Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at news@collegian.com or @amanduhh3003