Washington State has some of the most restrictive tobacco laws. Internet sales are banned, no indoor smoking is allowed anywhere, not even in a tobacconist, and they have proposals to ban all flavored tobacco, and for it to be illegal to smoke in your car if minors are present. Today, Washingtonian pipe and cigar smokers got some good news for once.
State lawmakers are looking to ease Washington’s strict smoking ban by allowing cigar and pipe smoking for a limited number of tobacco retailers.
A key Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would permit up to 100 cigar lounges and 500 retail tobacco shops to allow smoking. Cigarettes would still be banned.
Businesses would have to pay annual fees of $17,500 to obtain cigar lounge endorsements and $6,000 to obtain tobacco store endorsements. Supporters say the bill could help some local businesses hurt by the smoking ban that voters approved in 2005.
Critics say the measure threatens the health of employees and the public. The bill approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee requires employees to sign acknowledgements accepting that tobacco smoke might be present in their workplace.
The Seattle Pipe Club’s Gary B. Schrier, Bob Ramstad, and Matt Guss vigorously lobbied to make this happen, as did Stacy Thrasher of F. K. Kirsten Pipe Co. in Seattle, and Jeff Packer, Owner of Tinderbox in Tacoma WA.
All Washington State pipe and cigar smokers should thank them.
Hopefully, they will get lucky and and overturn the Internet sales ban and defeat the other asinine proposals as well.