The Local Government Association is in a funk about shisha bars:
‘Smoke-free laws are not offering strong enough punishments to deter irresponsible shisha bar owners who are making lucrative profits, which means councils often need to carry out costly and lengthy investigations to take action against the same bar over and over again.’Let's piggle away at this one a bit. There's a market for people who want to go to a bar and smoke shisha (hookahs, hubble-bubble pipes for those who don't know about them - interesting that the Arab word, shisha, has come to be most common even among South Asian populations). And, because there are people who want to smoke said hubble-bubble pipes, unscrupulous business owners provide them and make "lucrative" profits.
Seems to me that the problem here isn't the unscrupulousness of owners or the lack of council powers - it's the smoking ban. There is no justification at all for banning people from voluntarily going into a private space to consume a legal drug. Councils are frothing away at this because the bars have priced in the risk of a fine and therefore councils want more powers, no doubt up to and including arrest and imprisonment, to deal with all this.
When we're looking at things that Council's really shouldn't be bothering about, grown men and women smoking shisha in a comfortable bar is up there near the top of the list. What's worse is that these licensing numpties don't understand why such places end up run by ne'er do wells. It's because of that smoking ban again. Organised criminals have always walked in lockstep with the puritans - one lot gets to cash in while the others get to pretend they're stopping "rogues" and protecting the public from terrible and sinful activities.
If you relax the smoking ban - perhaps just to allow cigars clubs, shisha bars and smoking rooms - then nearly all of this dastardly criminality will go away.