Kasbah Fined Again, Smoking Issues Linger

Saturday, July 7, 2018
By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The Kasbah Restaurant, Moroccan cuisine and lounge, has incurred another $300 fine for allowing smoking in the establishment.

After receiving a couple of anonymous letters, Saturday night June 23, Carroll, along with a Winthrop Police detective visited the Kasbah after 10 p.m. and found hookah smoking taking place.

“People were smoking inside. It seemed like a nightclub. This is a big issue, the Kasbah has a history, they’ve had many tickets and they have come before the board,” Carroll said.

Kasbah owner Nasser Belghiti has been in front of the Board of Health before regarding the state and local smoking laws in 2015 and was given a time period to comply. Carroll said now it resembles a nightclub, complete with disco ball.

According to the regulations, Kasbah is licensed as a restaurant. As a restaurant no smoking of any “combustibles” is allowed. If there is no restaurant license there also can be no liquor license.

In 2015, it was agreed that people could smoke hookah outside with no food being served. Saturday night she observed no one outside. It’s also noted that a photograph of a woman smoking hookah appears on the restaurants website.

Kasbah can become a smoking bar by Belghiti applying for a permit with the Department of Revenue. Belghiti would have to prove that more than 51 percent of his sales from tobacco, even though shisha smoked in the hookah is made from fruit.

She issued a $300 ticket to Belghiti and he has 21 days to pay. Belghiti risks losing his food permit if he does not comply with the regulations. Without a food permit there can be no alcohol license.

“He’s had at least $1,800 in tickets,” Carroll said. “Tickets don’t seem to be working.”

The Board of Health is sending a letter to Belghiti regarding the violation and future action.

Carroll added that she has visited the tobacco permit holders and gone over the new regulations that kicked in on June 1. The first regulation is no sales to anyone under the age of 21, there are also new regulations for vaping and flavored tobacco products.

Carroll said she has received complaints about one market and she will be working with them to understand the regulations.

In another matter on Crest Avenue, a concern about smoke wafting into the Crossfit Tradewinds gym from a neighboring business was also remedied. Bonny Carroll, director of the Tobacco Control Program for the Six City Tobacco Initiative, told the Board of Health last week that people were sitting outside the Silver Clean laundromat smoking and it was blowing into the gym. Carroll spoke to the laundromat owner about having clients smoke across the street. Carroll will be assisting with signage and said she will continue to follow-up.

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