Yesterday, the Waco City Council voted unanimously in favor of changing the law to allow for new cigar lounges and hookah bars to open in the central Texas city.

Specifically, the City Council approved ORD-2023-059, overturning parts of the city’s 2015 smoking ban. Those parts included a requirement that any cigar lounge or hookah bar operating in Waco needed to be in business as of July 21, 2015, a grandfather clause. That requirement has been removed, which will allow for new cigar lounges and hookah bars. That said, those businesses will need to operate either in a standalone building or have a separate air ventilation system.

The Premium Cigar Association says that Glynn Loope, the group’s director of state advocacy, submitted letters of support in favor of the change.

“This is a step in the right direction for the City of Waco, the entire state of Texas, and hopefully other cities like Louisville, Kentucky among others will follow suit,” said Loope in a statement published by the group last week. “The association’s advocacy is not only on behalf of our existing membership, but also future members who wish to open a new cigar shop or lounge. These aspiring small business owners should be afforded the same rights and opportunities as existing establishments.”

Waco is located between Austin and Dallas. It has a population of around 140,000 and is best known as the home of Baylor University, though recently has gained fame as the home of Magnolia Market, a sprawling shopping complex from Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.