City of Peterborough Bans Public Use of Hookah Water Pipes

Written by admin, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012 – Public Health Commends City Leadership for Protecting Public Health

At last night’s Board of Health meeting, Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health, commended the City of Peterborough for its leadership last Monday when it passed a bylaw banning the public use of water pipes in indoor places and on patios licensed by the LLBO.

“Many communities in Canada and internationally are struggling to protect residents and employees from the health effects of water pipe use in public spaces. This bylaw is proactive and will prevent Peterborough from having to manage these issues and incur the associated risks and costs,” said Dr. Salvaterra. 

“The City’s decision to regulate water pipe use in public spaces promises not only better health outcomes but we predict will result in lower enforcement costs when compared to other municipalities who may choose to license water pipe establishments instead of banning them outright,” she said.

Also known as hookahs, water pipes are devices used to smoke tobacco and herbal products.  Dr. Salvaterra stated there is growing international scientific evidence showing that smoking water pipes causes harmful health effects both to the user and to those exposed to the secondhand smoke.  A typical hookah session lasts 20-80 minutes, with users taking up to 200 puffs.  Some studies show that a typical water pipe session is comparable to inhaling the same amount of smoke from 100 or more cigarettes.  In addition, water pipes use a mix of unknown and unregulated herbal and tobacco products.

A recent study showed that 7.5% of local youth reported using water pipes.  “Another benefit of this ban is that it avoids sending confusing messages to youth about smoking and reduces their exposure to negative role models,” added Dr. Salvaterra.

She noted that Public Health has been approached by four individuals interested in establishing hookah lounges in the city, and that opponents to the ban were all representing business interests, and not cultural groups.

For more information about water pipes and their health risks, please visit


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Officer
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391