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Cigar lounge bill passes despite ED warning

OLYMPIA -- The Senate narrowly passed legislation to allow cigar lounges in Washington, despite warnings from some Democrats that the denizens of such establishments may be setting themselves up for some equipment problems down the road.

Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, urged a no vote on Senate Bill 5542, noting all the maladies that cigar smoking can cause. Cancer was an obvious one, but Tom added several others. Cigar smokers are twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, he said, so the macho image of cigar-smoking guys may be misplaced.

"I'd hate to see these cigar lounges sponsored by Viagra," Tom said.

The bill is about personal choice, Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland said. "Are we going to be that much of a nanny state?"

Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, said he had  no problem with people making the choice to jeopardize their own health. But employees of the lounges will be required to sign a waiver that acknowledges they are working in a hazardous area. But Republicans who support the cigar lounge bill should pay attention to Tom's warning about medical consequences:

"A vote for this bill is a vote for Family Planning," Kline said.

The bill passed 26-21, and was sent to the House.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.