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Washington Initiative 1016 (2008)

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Washington Initiative 1016 was intended by its sponsors to qualify for the November 4, 2008 ballot in Washington, but did not ultimately qualify.

I-1016, if approved, allowed exceptions for smoking in private clubs, cigar bars, and tobacco shops. These activities are (and were, in 2008, when this measure was proposed) prohibited by the nation's most stringent statewide smoking ban, approved overwhelmingly by Washington voters in 2005, which prohibits smoking in indoor public facilities and workplaces with no exceptions.

This measure was a citizen-initiated state statute.

The official ballot measure summary said, "This measure would define places of employment for the purposes of the law prohibiting smoking to exclude private facilities, except when such private facilities are open to the public. Under the measure, smoking would be permitted in places of employment that are private facilities, except that smoking would be prohibited when such facilities are occasionally open to the public. The measure would define cigar stores and cigar bars and exclude them from the smoking prohibition."

Supporters

The Cigar Association of Washington coordinated the campaign for the initiative. Sponsor of the initiative was Joe Arundel, an owner of Rain City Cigar in Seattle.

"The original initiative went too far," Arundel said. "In other states, when they passed this type of legislation, they usually make exceptions for a few places. If this (exception) had been written into the original initiative... it would have passed by literally the same margin." He added that voters "didn't want to be unintentionally exposed to secondhand smoke. And the initiative we've crafted here would not do that."[1]

Dale Taylor, president of the Cigar Association of Washington and also a tobacconist with Rain City Cigar, said, "A yes vote for Initiative 1016 would allow cigar shops, cigar bars, and private clubs like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as service organizations such as the Elks, Lions, and others a choice to allow smoking if they so choose without changing the ban elsewhere." [2]

Opponents

Some opponents of the measure worry that Initiative 1016 could open up loopholes that would destroy the effectiveness of I-901.

"It could really create a giant loophole in the law," said Carrie Nyssen, advocacy director for the American Lung Association of Washington. "The authors may have thought it was going to be narrow. But we're really afraid that the private club exemption could create some unintended consequences (that) bars could take advantage of."

Nyssen added that the exemptions would put employees of those establishments back at risk of breathing dangerous fumes. "Our position is all workers deserve protection from secondhand smoke."

According to the initiative, in order to qualify as a cigar bar, the business' food sales must be incidental and it needs to generate at least $25,000 in annual sales of cigars. Backers have distributed petitions in smoke shops, clubs, and former cigar bars.

External links

References