A bill that will allow cigar bars and lounges in New Jersey to renew lapsed exemptions from the ban on indoor smoking under certain circumstances has gained the signature of Gov. Phil Murphy and will go into effect immediately.
The bill, A4102, was introduced in June and sponsored by Assemblymen Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen) and Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Mercer and Middlesex) along with Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). It passed the Senate by a 30-4 vote in September and the Assembly with a tally of 70-30-2 in June. It gained the governor’s signature on Dec. 17 as part of an extensive list of bills signed into law.
In order to qualify for the exemption under the new law, no more than 10 years must have elapsed since a cigar bar or lounge’s registration expired. Additionally, the bar or lounge must have generated 15 percent or more of its total annual gross income from the on-site sale of tobacco products and the rental of on-site humidors during the calendar year immediately preceding the lapse, and the cigar bar or lounge must not have expanded its size or changed its location since Dec. 31, 2004. If a business qualifies for the exemption, it would last for one year before needing to be renewed, and would only be renewable if it continues to meet the sales requirement and doesn’t change its size or relocate to a new space.