The plan would permit up to 100 cigar lounges and 500 retail tobacco shops to allow smoking.The bill would reverse part of a wildly popular 2005 initiative, which banned smoking indoors in public buildings and places of employment.
The bill may hurdle the House, but I'd be surprised if Gregoire signs on. After all, as Attorney General, she made her political reputation by leading the campaign to sue tobacco companies for deceptive practices, to the tune of $206 billion, $4.5 billion of that for the Evergreen State alone.
Even if the bill passes, don't go celebrating the moderately reasonable rollback of nanny-state social engineering, or lament the death of democracy. There's one overwhelming reason for the exemption:
Businesses would have to pay annual fees of $17,500 to obtain cigar lounge endorsements and $6,000 to obtain tobacco store endorsements.