BISMARCK – The North Dakota State House passed a bill that would allow businesses to have cigar bars and lounges.
A cigar bar, a place where people go to smoke cigars, is defined in the bill as a bar that generates two percent or more of its annual gross income from the sale of cigars, with lounges at 20%. Both must still be certified by its local subdivision to sell cigars.
House Bill 1229 creates a business opportunity for cigar bars and lounges for adults to smoke in, as long as the lounge or bar is enclosed, has proper ventilation, and a humidor on the premises. Political subdivisions would still be allowed to create ordinances against the lounges and bars.
“Many people don’t like smoking and do not want to be exposed to second-hand smoke,” said Minot Representative Dan Ruby, R-Dis. 38, sponsor and carrier of the bill. “Cigar bars and lounges are places where anyone going in them knows and accepts that they will be exposed to second-hand smoke. It really comes down to adults being able to go to a business and enjoy a product that is legal and something that they already use.”
Ruby told the assembly that when the restrictions against smoking passed in North Dakota, it put some businesses out of business, and now there are some that are interested in starting up that type of activity.
“With North Dakota winters as they are, it’s difficult to enjoy having a cigar when it’s too cold to take the time to enjoy one,” Ruby added. “You never see someone standing out in the cold with a puff and a cigar.”
The bill passed 59 to 32 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration after February 24, the crossover date.