Supreme Court ruling will hurt cigar bars - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Supreme Court ruling will hurt cigar bars

Supreme Court ruling will hurt cigar bars

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By: Camila Orti

Some people like to enjoy a cigar with their drink. They won't be able to anymore, at least not inside public buildings.

"It's disappointing, it's upsetting, it's really discouraging," Gen. Mgr of Jake's Cigars and Spirits, Jason Hutchison, said.

Cigar bars across the state were hit with some heavy news Friday morning. Nebraska's highest court ruled that people won't be able to smoke inside them anymore.

Up until the decision was made, amendments to the indoor smoking ban made exceptions for cigar bars, tobacco shops and hotel rooms. But this week, a Nebraska Supreme Court judge wrote that there is no major difference between cigar bars and other public places, so they shouldn't be treated differently.

Hutchison doesn't agree.

"A cigar bar is a destination place, it's targeting a specific group of people," he said.

Jake's is one of 11 cigar bars in Nebraska, but besides two hookah bars, it's really the only one of its kind in Lincoln. Now, Hutchison says his business is going to pay.

"Prior to smoking, our cigar sales were pretty decent, but once we had smoking in the bar we've seen cigar sales almost double," Hutchison said.

Some Jake's customers think the ban will hurt the bar's identity.

"I think that's stripping them from who they are as a business, and to take that away from them, I don't necessarily think that's fair," Aaron Mcwhirter of Omaha said.

Others think the decision could be a positive thing.

"You get 10, 15 people in here smoking cigars and it gets super smoky and you don't really want to hang out anymore," Jessica Mitchell of Lincoln said.

No word yet on when the decision will be enforced or exactly how overreaching it will be. That's ultimately up to the Attorney General, who could not be reached on Sunday.

The only exceptions to the smoking ban that still stand are hotel rooms and private homes.


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