Washington Cigar Lounge Bill Gets First Hearing Today

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Washington state is one of the few places where cigar smokers aren’t legally allowed to smoke cigars in the store where they purchased them, but a group of legislators is hoping to change that.

H.B. 1919 is scheduled to get its first committee hearing this morning by the House Committee on Business & Financial Services, with an executive session scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. It was introduced by 15 legislators who co-sponsored the bill, and seeks to create a way for cigar lounges to become licensed to allow smoking indoors. Currently, smoking is not allowed within 25 feet of a doorway, window or ventilation system to a building, which forces smokers outside or to lounges on tribal reservations.

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Cigar lounges and bars would have to meet a fairly strict set of requirements regarding air turnover, employee regulations and liquor licensing, but it’s a set of rules that the Cigar Association of Washington contributed to drafting and feels that cigar stores should be able to comply with.

Additionally, the total number of cigar store licenses would be capped at 75 for the entire state, while cigar lounges would be capped at 40.

It’s the fourth time that a bill of this nature has been introduced into the legislature, with previous versions all stalling in committee hearings.

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I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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