As of now, if you are in a cigar shop that opened up after 2012 in the state of Indiana—you aren’t smoking a cigar, at least not legally.

That’s thanks to House Enrolled Act No. 1149, a 2012 law that grandfathered smoking in retail tobacco stores and bars. It created three different categories for most places that sold cigars. Tobacco retailers were able to continue to allow smoking their shops so long as they met a variety of requirements, most notably having a tobacco sales certificated issued prior to June 30, 2012. In addition, the law required all tobacco retail stores to have a minimum of 85 percent of their sales come from tobacco products and were barred from selling food and beverages.

Cigar bars could sell beer, liquor and wine—they actually were required to have a license to do so—but needed to have at least 10 percent of their business come from cigars, humidor rentals or the sale of loose tobacco for hookah use.

A cigar specialty store also needed to have a license issued prior to June 30, 2012, but was only required to have 50 percent of its sales come from tobacco products and accessories. Persons under the age of 18 were also banned, as was the sale of food and beverages. Cigarette smoking was explicitly prohibited in a cigar specialty store.

House Bill No. 1235, which has been introduced by Rep. Ed Clere, R-Albany; Charlie Brown, D-Gary; and Ron Bacon, R-Chandler; would rollback two of the most damaging restrictions: the June 30th requirement and restrictions on selling food and beverages.

For general tobacco retailers and cigar specially stores, the June 30, 2012 requirement and the restrictions against selling food and beverages would be lifted. Stores will not be able to sell any prepared food, but sodas and other pre-packaged items would be allowed.  In cigar specialty stores, smoking cigarettes would continue to be prohibited, as would the use of e-cigarettes.

New cigar bars get a similar break. The grandfathered license requirement would be removed and business that were licensed after June 30, 2012 would be able to have cigar smoking so long as at least 10 percent of their annual gross income was from the sale of cigars and humidor rentals. Cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use would be prohibited in cigar bars.

H.B. 1235 was introduced in January, around the same time Brown and Clere introduced legislation that would increase the restrictions and taxes on e-cigarettes. There has been no action on H.B. 1235 since January.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.