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Nebraska senator introduces bill to exempt cigar bars from Clean Air Act

Publication Date: 2015-01-12
  • Author:Cait Thiesfeld
  • Publication:Daily Nebraskan

On Friday, a bill was introduced to the Nebraska Legislature to constitutionalize smoking in Nebraska cigar bars.

The bill is a response to the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling last August that retail tobacco outlets such as Jake's Cigars and Spirits are unconstitutional in accordance with the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008, which prohibits smoking in public spaces and places of employment.

The bill, Legislative Bill 118, was introduced by Sen. Tyson Larson of District 40 and co-signed by Sen. Bob Krist of District 10. Although it wouldn't repeal the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act, the bill would move Nebraska law back to the 2009 cigar exemption, which allowed cigar smoking in cigar bars. This new bill would also cover hookah bars, allowing establishments such as Rich Bar and Lounge to continue indoor tobacco smoking.

"Essentially what my cigar bar bill does is it leaves the status quo," Larson said. "We have a legal product, whether that's cigars or hookah. I believe that it is not the government's responsibility to regulate what people can and cannot do with that product, and businesses what they can and cannot do with that product."

Legislative Bill 118 states that allowing smoking in cigar shops as an exemption to the Nebraska Clean Indoor Act doesn't interfere with the law's original intent of protecting the general public and employees from being unwillingly subjected to second-hand smoke...

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