THE “shisha community” needs to be educated about smoking laws, a Bolton councillor says.

Cllr Bob Allen, who represents Heaton and Lostock, made the calls at the Environmental Services Scrutiny Committee.

He said owners of the cafes should be made aware that smoking shisha in a bar is illegal, just like smoking a cigarette in a pub.

He added: “Because of the culture, there may be a misunderstanding. Perhaps it’s about educating the shisha community.

“We should treat it exactly the same as smoking.”

Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for the environment, said councillors must not start a “witch-hunt”

against the cafes.

He added: “It’s part of the culture in many places in Manchester and London.

“Why would you want to shut them down, unless there’s illegal activities happening?”

Councillors raised concern about young people being in the cafes late at night.

Cllr Sean Harkin said: “The position of young people in shisha cafes must be a bit ambiguous. There’s nothing that stops them from being there. The only time an offence takes place is if they are being sold tobacco.”

The councillor’s comments follow a Bolton Council crackdown on cafes to ensure they are complying with anti-smoking laws.

Half of the six Bolton shisha cafes were found to be non-compliant during checks, including the Arabian Lounge and Hollywood Hookah in Derby Street and Arabian Mist in Gilnow Lane.

Smoking is permitted in an outside area or shelter — but only if 50 per cent of it is open to the air.

Council inspectors have been issuing on-the-spot £50 fines to anyone under the age of 18 caught smoking in Bolton’s shisha bars.

The legal age for people to have tobacco in any form is 18.

According to research, smoking shisha is just as.

dangerous as smoking cigarettes. However, shisha bars are becoming increasingly popular.

Traders in Manchester’s Curry Mile say the number of restaurants has halved in the last three years and they have been replaced with shisha bars