The Nebraska Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether or not exemptions to the state’s indoor smoking ban for cigar stores are in fact allowable, as the court heard from the state and attorneys for a cigar shop that wants to keep allowing their customers to light up.
Exemptions to the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act had allowed smoking in cigar bars, as well as a portion of cigar stores and some hotel and motel rooms. Last September, District Court Dudge Jodi Nelson ruled that those exemptions created an unfair business environment and thus deemed them unconstitutional.
The state continues to see a value in exemptions for cigar bars, with KETV reporting that Dale Comer, assistant Nebraska attorney general, told the justices that “the people of this state benefit by having cigar bars open as a business because there are jobs created with cigar bars.” He added that “cigar bars are different because there is legislative history that shows that they will go out of business if they’re not allowed to have smoking.”
A billiard hall is also challenging the smoking ban on the whole, saying that it has created an unfair business environment, and its case is being heard at the same time as the state’s defense of the exemptions.
The court is expected to make its ruling later this year, which could include preserving the exemptions, removing them from the Clean Indoor Air Act or possibly even throwing out the entire indoor smoking ban.