Two men responsible for three shisha bars across Croydon have been fined thousands of pounds for illegally allowing people to smoke indoors.
Sohail Iftikhar, also known as Sohail Khan, runs two shisha cafés on London Road in Norbury, both called Café Havana, and a third Café Havana on George Street. Yousef Afassi was also responsible for one of the Norbury cafés.
Like cigarettes, shisha can only be smoked outside in open areas. Iftikhar, 39, of Smitham Bottom Lane, Purley and Afassi, 54, of Waddon Road, Waddon, both pleaded guilty to one count of breaching the Health Act 2006 by failing to stop someone smoking in a smoke-free premises, when they appeared at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court on 14 January.
The court heard Croydon Council officers and police officers visited the addresses between November 2018 and March 2019 and on each occasion found up to 15 patrons smoking inside the licensed cafés. During the visits they seized more than 350 shisha pipes.
Iftikhar, appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Monday 17 February, where he admitted three additional charges of breaching the Health Act 2006 at the cafes. He was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay costs of £14,441.57.
Appearing at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court on 14 January, Afassi, was fined £1,350 and told to pay costs of £5,430.10 and a £135 victim surcharge.
Shisha is specially prepared tobacco and is smoked using burning wood, coal or charcoal. Smoke is passed through water, but this does not make it any less harmful than cigarettes. An hour in a shisha bar can see people inhale the same amount of toxins as smoking 100 cigarettes.
“Smoking indoors is illegal, whether it is cigarettes or shisha, and we will do everything we can to protect the public from the risks linked to this. We will always look to take action against any premise that breaks the law to keep residents and visitors safe.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities