Washington banned indoor smoking nearly seven years ago, but one exception survives: hookah lounges.
Local health departments have struggled to shut them down.
The lounges say they’re private clubs, not public venues, so the law doesn’t apply. They all charge some sort of membership fee, typically about $5.
That defense doesn’t sway health officials, like Frank DiBiase of the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. His office inspected three hookah bars in Tacoma last year.