Cigar Aficionado

Tobacconist-Driven Initiative Falls Short

In an effort to get a smoking ban exemption initiative on the November 8 ballot, Washington state tobacconists collected more than 213,000 signatures. Unfortunately, they needed 225,000.

Initiative 1016 would have exempted cigar bars, tobacconist shops and private clubs from the state's smoking ban, in effect since December 2005.

"We fell short of our goal... [but] we take great pride in the fact that, without any large money contributed by outside special interest groups, we almost got there," said Joe Arundel, owner of Seattle's Rain City Cigar, in a press release.

Although citizens will not be able to vote on the initiative, Arundel said he plans to ask lawmakers in January to permit the exemptions.