Churchill’s Cigar Bar West Bloomfield owner Nash Zaitouna is pictured May 17. A West Bloomfield smoking lounge ordinance amendment requiring residents to be 21 and older in order to partake in smoking at a cigar or hookah lounge was recently adopted in the township.

Churchill’s Cigar Bar West Bloomfield owner Nash Zaitouna is pictured May 17. A West Bloomfield smoking lounge ordinance amendment requiring residents to be 21 and older in order to partake in smoking at a cigar or hookah lounge was recently adopted in the township.

Photo by Deb Jacques


West Bloomfield amends smoking lounge ordinance

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 27, 2021

 A patron is pictured at Churchill’s Cigar Bar West Bloomfield May 17. An amendment to a smoking lounge ordinance was unanimously approved at a West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting in April.

A patron is pictured at Churchill’s Cigar Bar West Bloomfield May 17. An amendment to a smoking lounge ordinance was unanimously approved at a West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting in April.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Teenagers who want to indulge in lighting up a cigarette or cigar at a local lounge should be aware of an ordinance that is now in effect in West Bloomfield.

In an original ordinance that was adopted in 2010, those 18 years of age and older could legally partake in smoking at a cigar or hookah lounge.

However, an amendment to that ordinance was unanimously approved at a Township Board of Trustees meeting April 26.

Those who can now legally partake must be 21 and older.

According to Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan, in 2019, Michigan revised the age for people to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21, and the amendment was implemented to be in accordance with state law.

“Under state law, to legally smoke cigarettes or buy cigarettes, one has to be 21 years of age,” Kaplan said. “Our prior smoking lounge ordinance, it was 18. … So we amended the smoking lounge ordinance in order to prescribe you have to be 21 in order to partake at a lounge, cigar lounge or hookah lounge. … It’s more of a procedural matter, enhancing the ordinance, conforming with state law and to ensure that the application process is thorough.”

Nathan Sewell is a manager at Churchill’s Cigar Bar West Bloomfield. He does not anticipate the amendment to the ordinance hurting business.

“I think it’s all right for us,” Sewell said. “We don’t get too many 18-year-olds that know anything about cigars, so it hasn’t touched our clientele too hard.”

The township also restricts where smoking lounges are permitted to operate.

“They’re only allowed in the B-3 zoning district,” Kaplan said. “The B-3 zoning district — parts of Haggerty Road, and parts of Orchard Lake Road near Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake. So the northeast part of Orchard Lake Road, right before you reach Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake and Keego Harbor.”

The township currently has four cigar or hookah lounges, according to Kaplan.

The zoning restrictions make it unlikely that a plethora of additional lounges will pop up in the township.

Kaplan said entrepreneurs who do want to open a lounge would need both state license approval and township approval.

“We could have future applicants, but since it’s only allowed in the B-3 zoning district, I’d say it’s unlikely to have additional hookah lounges or cigar shop lounges,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan discussed what may be the primary advantage of the ordinance.

“Not everybody is a hookah consumer or a cigar smoker, but clearly every community has people who indulge in those activities,” he said. “Our municipality doesn’t (want to) be inundated with such a business because communities prefer to have variety or diversity. You wouldn’t (want to) have a cigar bar or hookah lounge in every strip mall, from a business zoning-planning perspective.”

Some township decisions garner more attention from residents than others. In this case, Kaplan said the ordinance has not been a controversial matter.

“I don’t say there’s a stampede either in favor or against this type of business, but the township has the right to require approval by the township, and in this case, state approval is needed, too,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with such a process. It’s an aspect of good government.”

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