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California Tobacco Shop Smoking Ban Passes Vote

Andrew Nagy
Posted: April 15, 2011

A California senate committee voted on Wednesday to pass a bill that expands the prohibition on workplace smoking to include retail tobacco shops.

The Senate's Labor and Industrial Relations Committee voted 5-2 to refer Bill 575 to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill, as passed, eliminates most of the specified exemptions, like the one that allows for legal smoking in retail tobacco shops, written into the current workplace smoking ban.

California's tobacconists unsurprisingly oppose the bill, and the Cigar Rights of America has called the legislation "an assault on small business."

The Cigar Rights of America has been fighting the legislation since it was introduced in February by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, urging both members and non-members to sign an online petition.

Visit www.cigarrights.org/petition_California001.php to sign up.

For more on this story, see the next issue of Cigar Insider, out April 19.

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Comments   10 comment(s)

Christian A April 15, 2011 5:56pm ET

We continue to live in fascist times. The government extends its control and loses revenue. Smart move.


Taylor Franklin April 15, 2011 9:11pm ET

Unfortunately, Bloomy's theocratic oligarchy are likely next.

Kill the small brick and mortar businesses . . . we are living in the time of corporate fascism.


William Nester — Corpus Christi, TEXAS, USA,  —  April 16, 2011 12:16pm ET

I will NEVER visit or live in California even if I was paid to do so. In addition, I do not purchase any California made products. Freedom loving Americans are encouraged to follow my example.


Nolan Perry — Fall River, MA, USA,  —  April 16, 2011 1:12pm ET

What the hell is CRA doing other than having people sign petitions? Petitions do nothing unless everyone who signs it shows up to state capitol building on a Monday morning demanding an audience with their rep or senator, bringing the media always helps.


John Law — Philadelphia, PA, USA,  —  April 17, 2011 12:56pm ET

Does it get lonely up there on your high horse, Mr. Nester? Nice to see that you lump together all of California and it's industries and people as if this absurd piece of legislation is universally supported by its population. If you feel that way about California products, then surely you never indulge in Cuban cigars or cigars from other pinko countries that comprise most of Central America.

Mr. Perry, I'm in total agreement. Petitions alone rarely accomplish anything. In this day and age, if the issue isn't in the media it doesn't exist in the minds of the people.


Matt Veit — Palmbay, Fl, United states,  —  April 17, 2011 8:15pm ET

Matt Veit — Palmbay, Fl, United states,  —  April 17, 2011 7:41pm ET

This country is out of control, if you don't smoke you don't belong in a cigar lounge , so to expand the no smoking in the work place bill to include cigar lounges is obsurd, taking away personal accountability of the people is nanny politics, little by little we are losing our freedoms and our rights to make our own choices, stay out of my life


Cole Encintio — Tampa, Florida, U.S. ,  —  April 18, 2011 11:21am ET

"What the hell is CRA doing other than having people sign petitions? Petitions do nothing..." Yeah, I tried to tell them that, but they are in love with the idea of having dozen of people sign useless pieces of paper to front their legislation. It's a waste of time and energy, but don't try and tell them that.


ANTHONY BLAKE — SANTA PAULA, CA, UNITED STATES,  —  April 19, 2011 2:24am ET

Shop & lounge owners need to converge on Sacramento in force and voice their opposition to this bill loudly... till then none of the Democratic control legislature will listen to them and petitions are used like toilet paper by these pols... and forget it being veto'd by the Gov. like Arnold used to, our new Gov. is an avowed liberal anti-tobacco activist who will sign this into law in a heartbeat...

What I don't get is with all the high-heeled private smoking clubs in CA (like the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills) that we aren't hearing much from the wealthy & "elite"... do they think this won't affect them and their investment in the private clubs?... this bill also outlaws smoking in private clubs as well as cigar lounges, hookah bars, etc. - and this will also instantly kill ALL cigar events in CA. - no more tasting nights or manufacturer sponsored events...


Debra Jennings April 20, 2011 8:14pm ET

In addition to the petition on the CRA site, there is also a link to state senators (you can search it by zip code to see who yours is). I just sent this letter to mine. Feel free to copy and do the same.

Senator Fuller,

As someone who understands and supports small businesses, I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 575. This bill will seriously impact the livelihood of small businesses in California that currently allow smoking (including tobacco shops, cigar clubs and other facilities where patrons and employees CHOOSE to smoke and are not unwillingly exposed to second-hand smoke).

As a Republican, I assume you also support smaller government and less regulation. Senate Bill 575 is an example of the type of government hand-holding that threatens the freedoms of every American. It sets a dangerous precedent, not only for California but also the rest of the country - and not only for smoking but also for other freedoms that we cherish and which those who do not seek to take away without justification.

Further, Senate Bill 575 is a waste of taxpayer money (something that California can ill afford). It does not purport to benefit the state financially in any way, and it will, in fact, negatively affect certain small businesses and, most likely, tourism to the state.

Senator Fuller, I urge you to do your homework on the so-called second-hand smoke research, in particular as it relates to cigar smoke. I believe you will find that even this justification for further restricting smoking in California does not have any merit.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this matter.


Debra Jennings April 20, 2011 8:15pm ET

And, yes, I do enjoy smoking cigars. :-)


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