In the past few years, cigar bars, hookah lounges, and other places where smoking is permitted have grown in popularity. The trend began in major cities with casinos and resorts and has now spread around the nation. These bars help increase revenue for casinos, but they open up a multitude of real liability exposures for the business owner. Here’s a look at the liability risks.
Increased Risks of Burns, Slips, and Falls
Hookah is a device for burning tobacco in which users smoke from long tubes. Burn injuries are common among hookah lounge and cigar bar smokers. Clouds of smoke create a smoke-filled environment for patrons, which can reduce visibility and cause people to slip and fall. Another risk for hookah smokers is that the burning of tobacco releases toxic metals and carbon monoxide fumes.
Since hookah bars are often extensions to conventional bars, many of the patrons consume alcohol, which raises other liability issues. A person is more likely to slip and fall when they are inebriated, which is why establishments that serve alcohol usually pay higher insurance.
Potential Hookah And Cigar Liability Risks
Breathing in these harmful chemicals can lead to cancer. Benzene, a by-product of hookah smoking, is linked with leukemia. Even one hookah lounge visit can expose a person to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So, before launching a business that involves tobacco, be aware of the health risks and liability risks.
Since tobacco is linked to various illnesses, including heart problems, any type of tobacco lounge or cigar bar is typically not covered by a standard business liability policy. It also isn’t even covered by umbrella insurance, which fills many different coverage gaps.
Insurance providers consider tobacco use as a high risk for hospital claims. Pregnant women exposed to a hookah lounge atmosphere can develop illnesses they may pass along to their unborn infants. Due to the damage that tobacco smoking causes, there are various ways a hookah lounge or cigar bar can get sued by their customers.
Employees and Second-Hand Smoke Repercussions
It’s possible for employees at a hookah lounge or cigar bar to fall ill. Second-hand smoke is linked with various health problems such as lung cancer and heart disease. The highly-polluted environments inside the bar or lounge have elevated health risks to the workers. An employee can file a claim with workers’ compensation insurance. If the claim is denied, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company.
How Can the RMS Insurance Lounge Insurance Program Help You?
Be aware of your establishment’s risks, especially if you decide to open a hookah lounge or cigar bar. Coverage differs for venues, so it’s best to talk with an insurance expert for a customized solution. Contact our team at RMS Insurance to learn more about our lounge insurance program.