On Tuesday, the Kentucky House of Representatives decided not to bring House Bill 289 to a vote, which would have banned smoking in all public places and places of employment with a  handful of exceptions.

“Despite the efforts of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and a handful of members of the Kentucky legislature, the voices of reason prevailed with the Kentucky legislature not bringing up for a vote a final version of the statewide smoking ban. It is a victory for the cigar community throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Glynn Loope, executive director of Cigar Rights of America.

However, Loope was quick to note that the Bluegrass State has not escaped the anti-smoking movement.

“We are still concerned by the proliferation of local smoking bans in Kentucky – local governments can do what they want, and it’s ridiculous that in places like Louisville you can’t smoke in a cigar shop. So while we are happy that the legislature defeated a statewide smoking ban, similar actions need to be happening at the local level as well,” Loope added.

House Bill 289 was introduced on January 19, 2012 by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington. It cleared the Health & Welfare Committee by a 10-2 vote on March 13 and was slated to be brought to the floor on March 21 before being pulled from the agenda and recommitted to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee on March 23. One of the main obstacles cited in getting the bill passed was that all 100 members of the Kentucky House of Representatives are up for reelection this year, and signing off on such a controversial measure would be a political misstep.

An amendment to the bill provided exemptions for a limited number of establishments, including private clubs, restaurants with a separate smoking room and bars licensed to serve alcohol, and also prohibited local governments from regulating premises exempt under the Act.

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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 Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.