Edmonton restaurants that allow smoking of herbal material in hookah pipes are hoping to convince the province not to ban the practice.
"We have a strategy that we're going to be following by actually talking to govenment, giving them some ideas, said Mohamad El-Turk owner the Sultan Palace downtown.
"Having proper ventilation in your place will reduce the risk of being exposed to second-hand smoking," he said.
El-Turk fears if hookah smoking is banned, his restaurant will fail.
Shisha smokers traditionally use flavoured tobacco, which is banned in Alberta restaurants. Many establishments instead offer "herbal mixtures" such as fruit-flavoured molasses, which the province considers to be a "tobacco-like" product.
Health Minister Fred Horne plans to introduce changes to Alberta’s Tobacco Reduction Act this fall, but says he is not sure if it will address "tobacco-like" products.
Dr. James Talbot, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, recommended amending the Tobacco Reduction Act in a report from February 2012 entitled Waterpipe Smoking in Alberta.
He suggested that Alberta Health and Wellness look at tightening anti-smoking laws in the province to restrict public use of waterpipes — commonly referred to as hookah, shisha and narghile.
Talbot said ventilation isn't effective and breathing in smoke from any burning material is unhealthy.
"Data shows that the same kind of carcinogens that cause lung cancer are found in that product as are found in tobacco," said Talbot.
El-Turk and Co Co Di owner Riad Ghazal have teamed up with other restaurant owners to hire a lobbyist to present their concerns.
Chief medical officer of health report: