A proposal brought to the Gary Common Council on Monday night seeking to ban smoking in all public places barely got off the ground, as Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade quickly removed her name from the proposal and no other council member got behind it as a primary sponsor. With no primary sponsor, the proposal is effectively dead, though could be revisited at a later date.

The ordinance sought to expand the Smoke-Free Indiana act to all public places in Gary; currently the state’s law exempts casinos, bars, taverns, tobacco retail shops, cigar bars, hookah bars, licensed horse track facilities, and membership clubs such as fraternal and veteran’s organizations, though they have to meet additional requirements. Gary’s proposed ban would have eliminated those exemptions within city limits.

One of the main casualties of the ban would have been a local casino, which vehemently opposed it, citing a negative impact to their revenue and the resulting loss of jobs. As part of that, the city would lose tax revenue from the casinos, a number that was reported as being upwards of $3 million annually.

Gary is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Chicago, and is home to approximately 76,500 residents.

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 MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.