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Lawmakers approve cigar lounges

Wed., May 18, 2011

Quips about Viagra, ‘nanny state’ precede passage on 26-21 vote

OLYMPIA – The Senate voted to let bars and restaurants set up separate cigar lounges, despite a warning that patrons might go in thinking they’re “big studs” but find out later they are just the opposite.

Cigar smoke is attributed to a wide range of health problems, including cancers of the lip, tongue, throat, lung and pancreas, warned state Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, during Tuesday’s debate. One study also suggests cigar smokers are twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

“A lot of these guys who think it’s real cool, that they’re big studs going into a cigar bar, well they might not be when they come out,” Rodney said. “I would hate to see these cigar bars sponsored by Viagra, but that seems to be who’ll probably be paying the fee on these.”

State Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, said the issue was personal choice. “I didn’t know we were going to have a Viagra commercial here. You choose to eat a smoked turkey, it’s got all the carcinogens you just named off. Are we going to be that much of a nanny state to not allow someone to do that?”

State Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, said he wasn’t concerned about smokers making that choice, but opposed forcing workers into it. “If one of the statistics quoted by (Tom) is true, then a vote for this bill is a vote for Family Planning,” Kline added.

Minutes earlier, a bill to expand Family Planning services passed 30-17, with all no votes coming from Republicans. The cigar lounge bill passed 26-21, with most Republicans voting yes and most Democrats voting no.

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