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North Dakota Senator Introduces Bill to Smoke in Cigar Bars (Update)

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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.”

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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.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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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