Bills in both house of the Pennsylvania Legislature have been filed that would remove exemptions in the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008, a move that would ban smoking at tobacconists, bars, casinos, private clubs and other places. Sen. Stewart Greenleaf has filed SB 80 alongside Rep. Mario Scavello, who filed HB 1485, both with the same aim: ban indoor smoking at business where it is still allowed.
Greenleaf was one of the major proponents for the smoking bans enacted in 2008 and now would like it expanded. In addition, language in SB 80 would allow for cities within the state to pass more restrictive smoking laws, something currently not allowed outside of Philadelphia.
Both the premium cigar and casino industries will likely make any attempts to pass the bill challenging. Because of Pennsylvania’s lack of taxes on premium cigars, major catalog retailers call the state home including Cigars International, Famous Smoke Shop and Holt’s.
It’s unclear when the Senate will take up Greenleaf’s bill, the Pennsylvania House will likely not begin debate on HB 1485 until late March according to The Beaver County Times.
These two bills are hardly the only threat cigar smokers in the state face. Rep. Ed Gainey has filed HB 926, which would raise the wholesale tax on cigars from zero to 25 percent, a move that would almost certainly result in hundreds of jobs leaving the state as the aforementioned retailers would likely move.
In addition, two separate bills have been filed in the House to ban smoking in a vehicle with a child.