Shisha Lounges

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:04 pm on 5th December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:04 pm, 5th December 2018

We seem to have a surfeit of time, so if you want to call other anyone else to speak, Mrs Main, that is fine.

I thank Shabana Mahmood for securing this debate on an issue of great importance to her constituents that has wider implications for us all, regardless of the part of the UK we represent. I should say that my voice is going, but not because I have been researching for this debate—it disappeared overnight but I will do my best to say what I can before it gives way.

There are a number of shisha bars in Glasgow. We counted them up in the office and think there are eight, six of which are in my constituency. We even picked up word that there is a shisha-on-wheels delivery service. I am not quite sure where that would fit in current legislation in Scotland or in the UK. It is clear that this is a grey area and that more needs to be done. Where there are smoke and mirrors, literally, there is potential for criminal enterprise and issues with building regulations, enforcement and the source of the tobacco, which may enter the country illicitly. A friend, Qasim Hanif, raised a concern that the tobacco is poor quality and does not comply with regulations, which causes health issues additional to those the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood set out.

Glasgow adopted the Scottish Government’s smoking ban in 2006, and it has been spectacularly well complied with ever since. Almost 10 years on, it is unthinkable that people used to smoke cigarettes in bars, restaurants, buses, theatres and cinemas. We have moved on so dramatically from that. The outlier of the regulation has been shisha bars. In December 2012 a shisha bar in my constituency was the first to be prosecuted for flouting the smoking ban. Even now, I hear worrying reports of underground shisha bars without the appropriate ventilation or fire safety measures. The hon. Lady mentioned that the fire risk is quite significant.

A local councillor in my area, Stephen Dornan, recently objected to a shisha bar in Tradeston due to the antisocial behaviour associated with the premises, although the majority of those in my constituency are in industrial areas rather than residential areas. If that changed and they became more commonplace in residential areas in the city, we may well see more of the antisocial behaviour that the hon. Lady outlined. In a broadly industrial area there might not be the same number of complaints as in a community area, as she described.