Two bills recently introduced in Washington State could grant cigar enthusiasts the right to, once again, light up a stogie inside tobacco shops and cigar lounges.
Smoking has been banned in Washington public buildings (including restaurants, bars and tobacco shops) since 2005.
Lawmakers are considering creating a state licensing program, where businesses would apply for endorsement with the State Liquor Control Board as a cigar lounge or retail tobacconist. If approved for a license, patrons would be able to light up inside these shops.
Only 100 lounges would be granted a license (at $15,000 a year), and 500 businesses (at $5,000 a year). This means many ‘mom-and-pop’ tobacco shops may not be able to swing the funds necessary to get a license.
Still, this is a step in the right direction toward retaining the people’s right to smoke. I hope other states will take notice of Washington’s lead, and begin to enact legislation based more on compromise, than the War on Tobacco many lawmakers are currently bent on becoming embroiled in.