House Bill 1750, sponsored Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle), would create a special endorsement allowing indoor smoking at cigar-specific lounges.
“I really do think a whole lot of people that voted for the smoking ban did not realize that they were going to put cigar lounges out of business.,” said Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma), the committee’s chairman.
Health officials have voiced opposition to the bill, saying no one should be forced to deal with second-hand smoke.
The bill would require employees at the lounges to sign an acknowledgment form, accepting that tobacco smoke may be present in their work area.
The billed passed out of committee by a 9-6 vote.
The legislation faces a tough road if it gets a full debate and vote on the House floor, especially in the state with the strictest smoking ban law in the nation.