The Hancock County Board of Health voted 5-0 on Tuesday afternoon in favor of passing the Hancock County Clean Air Regulation of 2014, a sweeping document that bans smoking in all public indoor areas as well as some outdoor areas.

Tobacco stores, parks, bars, private clubs and all hotels and motels are just a handful of the places where smoking will now be banned in the state’s smallest and northernmost county, home to just over 30,000 residents.

The only stated exemption in the regulation is for “private residences, including individual apartments or housing units which are part of a multi-unit residential housing project or apartment building, except when used as a child care facility, adult care, foster care or other similar social care.”

Both smokers and business operators can be cited for a misdemeanor and subsequently fined for violating the ban, which goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

Passage of the ban now puts the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in an interesting position, as the company had said that passage of the ban would mean a loss of 20 percent of its business. The casino, which employs some 1,300 people, is the largest employer in the county and has opposed the proposal since its creation. MTR Gaming has said that it was willing to create some smoke-free areas of the casino and hotel, but seemed to get no interest in that plan from the board.


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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.