North Carolina's indoor smoking ban took effect January 2. You knew it was just a matter of time before a business in the area would get hit with a violation.
The Juggling Gypsy Cafe on Castle Street in Wilmington is the first establishment in the Cape Fear Region that we know of to be fined for violating the smoking ban. It's a $200 fine. Owner Sebastian Gomez tells us he plans to appeal the New Hanover County Health Department's ruling.
"First of all we don't consider ourselves a bar and restaurant," Gomez said. "We're a live studio and they're debating us on that, but yeah we're smoking here. In fact we're smoking more than ever at the Juggling Gypsy, but it's not tobacco, so where's the problem?"
The Juggling Gypsy had tried to use a loophole in state law that allows performers in productions to smoke. The hookah bar required patrons to sign releases saying they are performers with live internet cameras.
That apparently did not stop the Health Department from enforcing the smoking ban.