A SHISHA lounge has closed down after the owner was prosecuted for allowing customers to smoke inside.

Mansoor Hussain, 32, owner of The Lounge on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough, was fined £200 and ordered to pay £686 in costs when he appeared before Teesside Magistrates this week, charged with failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place.

He has since closed the Lounge, but his nephew has now set up a new shisha lounge and sports cafe, with an outdoor terrace, in the former Camels Hump pub on Waterloo Road in the town.

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He said: "I had been working with Middlesbrough Council on the Lounge because there has to be 50 per cent of the room open for there to be smoking allowed.

"I had 50 per cent open but I had shutters on for security and they said it wasn't open enough. In the end I had to close because the premises weren't right.

"Shisha isn't like normal smoking, the tobacco is heated rather than burned so it is more of a vapour. Because it was alcohol-free and had a snooker table we also had a lot of young people coming in instead of being on the streets.

"It is a lot less strict for shisha lounges in Manchester and London."

Shisha, or water-pipes, are used to smoke a number of substances, mainly flavoured or non-flavoured tobacco or herbal mixtures. The process involves burning charcoal and inhaling the mixture of the coal and tobacco smoke, drawn through a bowl of water and into a hose from which the user inhales through the mouth.

Under the Health Act 2006, smoking tobacco or anything which contains tobacco, or smoking any other substance, in an enclosed or substantially enclosed premises is an offence.

Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: The Lounge was designed in such a way that only a very small balcony could be legally used as a smoking area.

"The area where officers found shisha pipes being prepared by staff and served to customers was fully enclosed.

"The owner had previously received a written warning and he had ignored this warning.”