A man smokes flowered tobacco with honey and herbs from a hookah at a cafe in Southern California. (Los Angeles Times )

The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved extending a moratorium on new hookah lounges in the city.

On Nov. 5, the council approved a 45-day moratorium on the smoking establishments, though a city official said Tuesday that wasn't long enough to examine complaints associated with the businesses and establish zoning regulations for them, the Daily Pilot reported.

The new moratorium is for a period no longer than 10 months and 15 days.

"We haven't had time to come back to you with a full study on this issue," said Gary Armstrong, Costa Mesa's economic and development services director and deputy chief executive.

City staff have said hookah parlors are detrimental to residents since they generate loud music, public and underage drinking, excessive noise and loitering. The staff have also cited the health effects, such as secondhand smoke.

Anaheim has enacted a similar measure, Armstrong noted.

"We're learning from them," he said.

Costa Mesa has three hookah lounges — Bublyz Hookah Lounge, 3303 Bristol St.; Harbor Hookah Lounge, 440 Fair Drive; and Sultana Hookah Lounge, 698 W. 19th St. — and they will not be affected by the decision.

In October, four of the five planning commissioners recommended approving the 45-day ban. Commissioner Colin McCarthy dissented.

Mayor Jim Righeimer said the council isn't against hookah parlors but that the city needs to establish their proper place, just as with restaurants and bars. One parlor, he said, was trying to call itself a retail store.

"They became establishments that are not being run as a retail store," Righeimer said.


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