Kasbah Cited Again

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

An inspector from the Six City Initiative, which oversees the Tobacco Control Program, visited the Kasbah restaurant on Putnam Street this past Saturday night and cited the owner for the fourth time for violating the state’s smoking regulations.

The inspector met with a detective from the Winthrop Police Department around 11 p.m. to respond to the Kasbah to check for continuing violations.

A citation was issued.

“The Winthrop Board of Health continues to expect full compliance with the Massachusetts Smoke Free Workplace Law which prohibits smoking of any substance in a restaurant,’ said Nick LoConte, chairman of the Winthrop Board of Health, in a statement. “Whatever we may think of the regulation, the board is not empowered to change state laws.”

Kasbah is known for its food, belly dancing and hookah smoking.

Kasbah owner Nelson Belghiti had been given a deadline by the Board of Health to comply with the law by Dec. 1, 2015 and the board saw no evidence of compliance. He had already been given three citations for violating the state law.

At the Dec. 2, 2015 meeting of the board it was decided to go forward with more visits from Tobacco Collaborative inspectors to the Kasbah on Putnam Street. There may be more fines which could lead to the revocation of the restaurant license and consequently the liquor license.

The state workplace smoking law came in to place in 2014 and Belghiti has owned the Kasbah for 15 years.

Belgheti can become a smoking bar by 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.

LoConte explained that the law states anything “combustible”. He said there could be hookah allowed outdoors. He also explained how others have set up two separated places. There could also be a covered over outdoor space.

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