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SMOKING: Cigar bar bill threatens our health

Letter by L.M. Hedegaard, Puyallup on May 11, 2011 at 11:36 am with 21 Comments »
May 11, 2011 11:36 am

In 2005, voters in all 39 Washington counties voted to pass Initiative 901, our clean indoor air law. Since that time, the state of Washington has had one of the most effective clean indoor air laws in the country. Together, we have saved lives by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke in public places.

Now the supporters of Senate Bill 5542 are poised to change all that. They want to weaken our clean indoor act by allowing exemptions for cigar bars and cigar retailers. These businesses would pay a fee to allow smoking within their establishments, once again exposing employees to secondhand smoke. Adjoining businesses would also be exposed to the harmful carcinogens wafting through their shared overhead air space.

And, in a bizarre twist of legislation, the proposed Senate budget has eliminated funding for Washington’s successful tobacco prevention and control program, instead allowing the sole funding for tobacco cessation to come from license fees for cigar bars.

Quit assistance for tobacco users should not be tied to increased secondhand smoke in our public places. The small amount of money generated by the fees would be a drop in the bucket compared to the tremendous cost to people’s health and to our health-care system.

Our legislators must heed the will of the people so clearly stated in 2005. Keep Washington smoke-free by opposing SB 5542. The tobacco industry is behind this fight; don’t let them win the battle for our health.

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Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. alindasue says:

    I’m not a smoker. In fact, I consider cigarrette smoke to be one of the greatest annoyances of our society (right up there with someone with heavy purfume entering an elevator with me).

    However, anyone who chooses to apply for a job at a cigar bar is not being forced to be exposed to cigar smoke. They choose it of their own free will.

    So, IF such an establishment is in a separate building and IF the rest of the world outside the establishment is not exposed to the smoke in any way, then as long as tobacco cigarettes and cigars remain legal, I can see no reason to not allow the customers of such product to use those products in the establishments that specialize in selling them.

    Better there than outside on our sidewalks standing too close to doorways with their toxic smoke.

  2. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Yes, that’s a fact, alindause, free choice by adults can lead to harm (drinking, Corvettes, airplanes, pizza). But, so what? Let this go, I cannot see harm, if a waiter/waitress doesn’t want to be there, move on.

  3. modyfied says:

    Its an ‘AT-WILL’ state. If you dont like the conditions, applyat another job. We are supplied tap-water for usage, flouridated and whatever. Is this safe for ALL of us, too? If your answer is ‘NO’, then get off the smoking, TAXPAYING backs…

  4. I don’t have a problem with adult indoor smoke establishments as long as the establishments pay for full health care insurance for employees working in that environment and place $10,000 a year per employee in an escrow account to pay for the employee’s future smoke related health care.

  5. L.M Hedegaard, don’t you have other things to worry about in your life than to stick your nose inside a cigar bar? Get a life! You smoke Nazis are getting boring.

  6. SadujTogracse says:

    Just like the wood burning stove letter from the other day, this is all about control. Nevermind that the Government is making a large chunk of change off tobacco while on the other hand telling everyone how bad it is. More Kardnos type hypocrisy.

  7. alindasue says:

    steilacoomtaxpayer,
    Let what go? Aren’t you aware that you and I said pretty much the same thing? Anyone going into a cigar bar, either as a customer or a job applicant, is doing so knowing there is going to be smoking there.

  8. All this will do is open the door to any business that wants to have smoking. Pretty soon all they’d have to do is put a disclaimer on the door saying enter at your own risk, and anything goes.

    Our indoor smoking ban would be useless because the non-smokers would be the ones having to go out of their way to avoid the smoke.

  9. alindasue says:

    Polago said, “Our indoor smoking ban would be useless because the non-smokers would be the ones having to go out of their way to avoid the smoke. ”

    I don’t think that will if the exemption is clearly written to apply only to businesses that specialize in the sale of tobacco such as cigar bars and smoke shops. Of course, I would only agree to it under the condition that the smoking is kept confined to the building each shop is in and the shop its own building separated from the other buildings around it.

  10. Once an exception is granted to one…………….

  11. OMG, wait for ittttttttttttttttttttttttttt…..
    AlindaSue, way to go! Perfectly intelligent position on this issue!
    I also am not a smoker, hate the smell of smoke. But guess what? We live in an area with multiple Native American Casinos and bars….and they all allow smoking. All this law has done is shifted tax paying, revenue generating business to tribal, non-tax paying, non-revenue generating companies.

    Smoky Joes is above the Bingo Hall on Pacific Highway South in Fife. It’s public, you can go smoke cigars there tonight if you’d like. But, its governed by a seperate sovereign nations rules(Puyallup Tribe). This law is a good law, and its ridiculous to take issue with it. Look at what El Gaucho’s did to create their cigar bar that the state went after so hard….. Lets quit running legal business for a legal substance to Tribal entities that take from the public coffers without contributing a dime to the state or local municipalities revenues.

  12. The Law says NO SMOKING! Why the debate? It’s just an end-run around the Law. I agree that some bright boy with a Lawyer will then open up a “Cigarette” club, requiring each “member” to pay a “membership fee”. “Memberships” could be annual, or daily. It’s just a way to skirt the Law to get RICH. You want to pollute your own home with your noxious stench, poison your body and die UGLY and withered? Fine! But, NOT near my lungs!

  13. NWflyfisher says:

    L.M. Hedegaard: I’m curious. Are you more exposed to cigar smoke from a “cigar bar” than you are to bus and commercial truck exhaust fumes? Seems to me the legislature needs to refocus if they truly want to do something positive about the public’s respiratory health.

  14. With all the problems we have in this world, expending energy on this is imo a waste.

    If you don’t want to be around smoke, stay away from smokers.

  15. Sozo says: “If you don’t want to be around smoke, stay away from smokers.”

    Like I said, “Our indoor smoking ban would be useless because the non-smokers would be the ones having to go out of their way to avoid the smoke.”

    Thanks for reinforcing my point.

  16. Read between the lines. Just like WSDOT saying they have to charge tolls because the gas tax is not producing enough revenue to fund their projects due to decreased usage, the State is willing to pass this bill for the fees.

  17. slugoxyz says:

    The indoor smoking ban is a good thing. However (and this is a big however), if a person wants to open up an establishment where like minded people want to smoke, and it is not an eating establishment, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to. They could protect the unwilling by requiring membership. El Gaucho had a very expensive air filtration system. The laws should be strict. No minors, no eating, no liquor license. Just smokers, enjoying the carcinogens. This wouldn’t be like a Denny’s that allows smoking in the back room. This building would be dedicated to ingesting smoke into your lungs. If you work there, you should be well aware of the risks (like working at a gas station). L.M. talks about keeping Washington smoke free? We’re not really are we? People are allowed to smoke if they so choose right? Oh! But you want to continue to harass people conducting a legal thing even when it doesn’t affect you? Until you make smoking illegal, you have to allow for these peoples’ rights. I quit smoking in the 80’s, and I still smoke a cigar occasionally but only in my backyard. Are you going to come tell me I can’t do that anymore because you might be able to smell it from the road? For goodness sakes! I am all for good laws and enforcing the laws we have but let’s not get rabid here.

    Polago? You should seek to form some sort of union amongst the folk that work in a smoking bar. Otherwise, give us a break…

  18. As you said, “The indoor smoking ban is a good thing. I am all for good laws and enforcing the laws we have…….”

    Those of us who do not support Senate Bill 5542, those who see this bill as an attempt to undermine indoor smoking laws, are united, slugoxyz.

    So, give us a break!

  19. blakeshouse says:

    The new Soviet wanna be’s just go absolutely ape when big brother isn’t in charge of every breath you take.. Cradle to Grave, Womb To Tomb. these socialist /neo marxists won’t be happy till that is where we end up.

  20. I don’t understand why these anti-smoking people don’t just up their car windows when driving past a smoking establishment. I haven’t found one place that has burly 250 lb. men dragging unwilling people into smoking establishments. What’s all the fuss about?

  21. “roll up” their car windows, (sounds better).

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