Date: February 2011
Author: Ray

Washington Proposes Pro-Smoker Bills – At a Heavy Price

After six years of oppressively harsh smoking laws, Washington State is finally considering caving in a little … and taking a lot.

The two separate bills, Senate Bill 5542 and House Bill 1683, would enable cigar smokers to enjoy their freedom once more inside a limited number of tobacco shops and cigar lounges.

In 2005, Washington State universally banned indoor public smoking in one of the harshest smoking measures ever passed. Even inside bars, restaurants and tobacconists, cigar smokers were forbidden to light up.

Just as restaurants and bars can apply for a liquor license, the proposed bills would allow tobacconists and cigar lounge owners to apply to the State Liquor Control Board for an endorsement of their status. This in turn would allow them to receive an annually renewable license to permit their patrons to smoke in their establishments.

Sadly the bills come at a very heavy toll for business owners. Only 100 cigar lounges and 500 tobacconists will be able to receive licenses. The costs to these business owners will be expensive, to say the least. For tobacconists, a license will cost $5,000 per year. For cigar lounge owners, the fee is downright exorbitant: every year cigar lounge owners will have to pay a whopping $15,000 to renew their licenses.

If the bills do pass – it will certainly be a step forward in reversing the Washington State public smoking ban. The cost will put a huge dent in the finances of local businesses though, and there’s no doubt that Washington State is still trying to punish cigar smokers and purveyors in the trade – even while restoring some of their rights.

3 thoughts on “Washington: two pro-smoker bills at a heavy price

  1. As much as us cigar-loving Washingtontians would love to see an improvement in the law, it’s hard to be optimistic when our state legislators who are sponsoring these bills are so vastly outnumbered by those leftist representatives who have vowed to oppose any weakening in the law which they see as so valuable in their ultimate quest of ending smoking completely.

  2. They pretend that the smoking bans are for the health of people.But I guess we now know what the cost of a life is.$5000.

  3. “Sadly” is right! The ONLY reason they are doing this is MONEY – WA State is in serious budget trouble, latest budget legislation signed by Governor has hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts. Too bad this would never come up if it were not for that. With the high fee and limits on licenses this is not very promising!

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