A North Dakota state senator is hoping to allow cigar smokers to light up in cigar bars in the state.
Sen. Oley Larsen (R-Minot) has introduced S.B. 2137, which would modify the state’s existing indoor air quality laws to create an exemption for cigar bars, which are defined as bars that generate at least 10 percent of their gross income from the sale of cigars, have a humidor on the premises, are enclosed by solid walls or windows, a ceiling, and a solid door; and are equipped with “a ventilation system by which exhausted air is not recirculated to nonsmoking areas and smoke is not backstreamed into nonsmoking areas.”
If a bar meets the above definition, they would be allowed to permit the smoking of cigars and any premium tobacco product purchased on the premises, though no other tobacco products—such as cigarettes—would not be allowed to be smoked on the premises. The bill defines a cigar as “an individual roll of tobacco which has a wrapper or cover consisting only of tobacco, measures a number forty ring size or larger, and is sold without a filter.”
The bill has been referred to the Senate’s Industry, Business and Labor Committee. It has already garnered the support of three other legislators.
When asked why the minimum ring gauge for the definition of a cigar is set at 40, Sen. Larsen told halfwheel that he patterned the bill after South Dakota’s existing law about cigar bars, and indeed, the language is nearly identical.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled the senator’s last name as Larson. It has been corrected, and we regret the error.