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Legislature hears bills to allow cigar smoking in Washington public places

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Jan. 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm with 2 Comments »
January 28, 2011 5:49 pm

Stogie smokers, your time may have come.

Bills were read Friday in both the State House and Senate that would allow cigar smoking in public places.

The bills, introduced on the cold ashes of the controversial closure of a cigar lounge at Tacoma’s El Gaucho steakhouse, stipulate that those establishments seeking a smoking license meet several requirements.

Among those, a proprietor would:
• Pay a fee of either $15,000 or $5,000;
• Construct a smoking facility that is separated from areas where smoking is prohibited;
• Provide proof of a ventilation system;
• Not allow cigarette smoking;
• Not allow smokers under the age of 18;
• Certify that employees accept that smoking will be allowed.

Fees collected under the law would go both to a basic health plan trust account and for administration of the licensing.

The Senate bill has been referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection; and the House bill to the Committee on Business and Financial Services.

I’ll try to speak with El Gaucho founder (and cigar afficianado) Paul Mackay next week, and I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the bills.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. Instead of the money going to the state, how about requiring the employer to provide quality health insurance for the employees working in the smoking environment.

  2. WinstonS says:

    Oh why, oh why is there an assumption that an employee has a right to a smoke free environment in an establishment that caters to cigar and pipe smokers? El Gauchos did everything right to provide separate ventilated space for cigar smokers and they still get the smoking Gestapo shutting them down. If an individual does not want to be subjected to the bogyman of secondhand smoke than they should not seek employment in a business that caters to cigar or pipe smokers. There use to be some great cigar bars in the Puget Sound. How did the employees feel about the fact that for their own supposed protection they lost their jobs? Now the only cigar bars in our state are on Indian Reservations.

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