The Indiana Supreme Court has struck down a smoking ban passed by the city of Evansville, citing that the ordinance amendment violated the Equal Privileges and Immunity Clause of the state Constitution by allowing smoking on the Tropicana Casino’s riverboat but prohibiting it bars, restaurants and private clubs.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson, who authored the majority opinion, said that ““today, we hold that this clause invalidates an Evansville ordinance expanding the city’s smoking ban to bars and restaurants but exempting its only riverboat casino.”

The five members of the court were split 3-2 in their decision, which was handed down on Tuesday.

With the change, the law reverts back to the one passed in 2006, which prohibited smoking in workplaces and other public places, but created exemptions for bars, private clubs and riverboats. Establishments must apply for an individual exemption with state excise police, and the Evansville Courier Press reported that exemptions were already being sought within hours of the decision being announced.

The ruling does not affect other cities’ smoking bans, including a recent ban passed by Indianapolis, which provided exemptions for cigar and hookah bars because it recognized the inherent differences between those establishments and bars and restaurants.

Avatar photo

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.