A bill that would allow cigar bars and lounges to renew their lapsed exemptions from the state’s indoor air act received the approval of the state Senate this week, sending it to Gov. Phil Murphy for his approval.

The bill, A. 4102, was introduced in June and sponsored by Assemblymen Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen) and Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Mercer and Middlesex) and Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). It passed the Senate by a 30-4 vote on Thursday and the Assembly with a tally of 70-30-2 on June 25.

In order to be granted the exemption, it must be no more than 10 years since a cigar bar or lounge’s registration lapsed; 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 cannot 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.

The change will go into effect immediately if it is signed into law.

Featured image by JÉSHOOTS via Pexels.com.

Patrick Lagreid

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.