The owners of a Bradford shisha lounge have been fined £5,500 after being found guilty of failing to prevent smoking inside their building.

The sentencing yesterday of Asif Afsar and Muneib Bhatti, of the Unit 16 Gaming Lounge, in Richmond Road, Bradford, came on national No Smoking Day, as events were held across the Bradford district to help people quit the habit.

The defendants failed to attend the hearing at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court and were fined in their absence.

The court heard that visits were made to the lounge during May 2012 by environmental health officers, following complaints of people smoking shisha pipes inside the building.

Smoking inside enclosed buildings to which the public have access has been banned since July 2007.

Harjit Riyatt, prosecuting on behalf of Bradford Council, told the court that the defendants had indicated at a previous hearing that the premises were not open to the public, as the business operated on the basis of a shareholding.

The pair were fined £1,250 each for the offence of failing to prevent smoking inside the premises and £1,500 each for failing to properly complete and return a reply form. The court also imposed a £15 victim surcharge and granted the Council’s application for costs of £1,618.

Meanwhile, thousands of smokers across the Bradford district were urged to take the leap to a smoke-free life yesterday as part of the annual No Smoking Day.

More than 3,000 people across the district managed to stop last year, but according to Bradford and Airedale’s NHS Stop Smoking Service, about 21 per cent of the local population still smokes.

Bradford University staff and students were shown the dangers of smoking cigarettes and shisha pipes by environmental health workers from Bradford Council and the NHS.

The levels of carbon monoxide in the system of smokers and non-smokers were compared.

Now in its 30th year, the message for No Smoking Day is to swap fags for swag, emphasising not only the health benefits but also the financial gains.

Stop smoking adviser Amanda Bailey said: “We know not everyone succeeds first time and our non-judgmental, friendly advisers are available to support people’s needs.”

Call the local free Stop Smoking Service on (01274) 202793 or (01274) 437700 from April 1 for tips and advice on how to quit.