Seattle plans crackdown on indoor smoking, hookah lounges

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Water pipe with smoke. From Thinkstock.

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the city is planning a crackdown on illegal indoor smoking lounges after complaints of crime and violence.

The mayor’s office says that in the past 18 months there have been three homicides near the business, and Seattle police have responded to more than 100 fights and disturbances associated with the establishments.

The businesses are considered in violation of the state’s smoking ban in places of employment. Murray spokesman Viet Shelton says there are about a dozen hookah lounges in the city.

Murray was joining members of the City Council, public health officials and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole in announcing enforcement actions Monday.