An Arkansas legislator is proposing a drastic overhaul to the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006 that would allow for smoking in privately owned businesses and making participation in the ban voluntary.

H.B. 1696 was introduced this week by Rep. Justin Gonzalez, R-Okolona, with Sen. Blake Johnson, R-Corning, signing on as a co-sponsor. The bill wouldn’t have an effect on cigar stores, which have already had an exemption from the ban, but would appear to open up any privately owned business to allow smoking should it wish.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor, where it is scheduled for a hearing on March 12.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.