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USA: cigar smokers want right to smoke in public

Wed 20th April, 2011

Cigar smokers in America are seeking the right to be allowed to light up in some enclosed public places.

A rising number of states have moved to exempt cigars from indoor smoking bans, often by establishing cigar bars or smoking lounges inside cigar stores. Pro-cigar groups have sprung up nationally and in most states, spreading a message that their product is fundamentally different from cigarettes.

Kansas, Minnesota and Illinois also have pending legislation that would loosen smoking bans to allow for cigar bars, said Glynn Loope, executive director of Cigar Rights of America.

"Five years ago, I wouldn't give you a $10 bet on any of these bills being drafted," Loope said. Now some might even be passed, he said.

New York, Nebraska, and Oregon are among 13 states that ban indoor smoking but allow exemptions for cigar bars, he said.

Cigars and cigarettes have fundamental differences, cigar advocates say. Premium cigars are more expensive, take longer to smoke and tend to be favoured by older people.

Cigar smokers don't chain-smoke and often regard their activity as an occasional luxury to be savored with friends and a drink, Loope said.

Source: Huffington Post (20 April 2011)

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