Cigar smokers in Nebraska are enjoying their final days of being able to smoke in cigar bars & lounges, as a court decision handed down Friday resolved a debate about lawyer’s fees that was keeping the decision from being implemented.

The issue traces back to an exemption in the 2008 Nebraska Indoor Clean Air Act that allowed smoking in cigar bars and lounges and was being challenged by the owner of an Omaha billiards hall. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2009, was decided in August 2014 with the court finding that the exemption violated the state’s constitution. The court found that exemptions were “special favors” to certain types of businesses, something prohibited by state law and thus unconstitutional.

A petition asking the court to rehear the case was filed shortly thereafter, only to be denied and the decision left to stand. Even though the matter was closed, without the official written decision, cigar bars and lounges continued to allow smoking.

That all changed on Friday, and it appears that the ashtrays will have to be removed by Tuesday, according to After that date, cigar bar and lounge owners risk fine or possible loss of their liquor licenses if they are found to be allowing smoking int their establishments. Enforcement of the ban in the state’s cigar bars and lounges is being handled at the local level, which could mean the health department, Health & Human Services division or possibly the state patrol, Bob Batt of the Liquor Control Commission told the station. There are approximately a dozen such bars and lounges in the state.

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