CALGARY -- A Calgary post-secondary institution is banning smoking while the province has allowed lounges to provide hookah once again during the ongoing global pandemic.

Alberta updated its guidance for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars on Aug. 20 with new rules for offering hookah and water pipes including:

  • The use of disposable mouth tips and hoses which should not be shared
  • Completely disassembling and sanitizing the device after each use
  • Having all staff members wear masks.

Hookah and shisha use in lounges was originally slated for Phase 3 of Alberta’s relaunch plan. 

The province said it has been striking a careful balance between protecting the health of Albertans and ensuring that livelihoods and businesses can weather the pandemic. Officials will be monitoring the situation, taking additional steps as necessary.

Days after the province made the change, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health warned that people who smoke or vape could be at higher risk of coronavirus-related complications.

"There does seem to be a link to things like smoking or vaping and having a more severe outcome following a COVID-19 infection," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology will become a smoke-free campus as of Aug.31, 2020. Signs for designated smoking areas at SAIT will be taken down and anyone who does smoke on campus might not be allowed back on the premises due to health guidelines. 

"In support of health and safety regulations due to COVID-19, and for the ongoing overall well-being of our community, SAIT has made the decision to permanently become a smoke-free campus," said David Zajdlik, SAIT's director of safety and community services. "Our immediate focus is education and awareness, communicating to our employees and students about this change."

SAIT’s smoking ban does not apply to the use of cannabis for medical use.