Smoke shops permitted under Oregon’s indoor-smoking law would be restricted under a bill Thursday that passed the Oregon House. The 35-23 vote sent House Bill 2726 to the Senate. Its chief sponsor is Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, who seeks to curb an exception spurring the growth of “Al Fakher hookah lounges,” which allow patrons 18 and older to smoke flavored tobacco on the premises.
Tomei said such places encourage tobacco use by young people and hooks them to the habit.
Smoke shops were allowed under a 2007 law that barred most indoor smoking in public places. Each in the future will be limited to four patrons to sample tobacco, but the amended bill will let stand shops that were in existence or had applied for registration by Dec. 31.
The bill also raises from $2,000 to $4,000 the maximum penalty against an employer failing to provide a smoke-free workplace.
Cigar bars, which also are allowed under the 2007 law, are not affected by the bill.