Senate kills cigar bar ban |

Senate kills cigar bar ban

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The Senate on Tuesday killed a bill that would have outlawed some cigar bars after opponents said it went too far trying to regulate businesses.

Lawmakers said they feared traditional bars are calling themselves cigar bars to take advantage of an exemption in the statewide smoking ban.

The bill (Senate Bill 250) was amended to allow an exemption for bars that get 5 percent of their income from selling tobacco, as long as it applied to cigar sales, cigar tobacco and humidor rentals, but that wasn’t enough to win approval.

The smoking ban currently has three big exemptions ” casinos, cigar bars and the smoking lounge at Denver International Airport.

The exemption was aimed at protecting only a handful of cigar bars, including Churchill’s at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, but many other bars have latched on to it, according to Kimberly Hills of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance.

Though The Cigar Bar in Aspen existed long before the state’s smoking ban, its owners were worried the bill could spell the end of the business. Tuesday’s action means fans of the establishment can rest easy.

The cigar bar exemption was a key part of a ruling by an Adams County judge in early April that the smoking ban was unconstitutional. The judge said the law violated the due-process rights of bar owners because it didn’t allow them a chance to establish themselves as cigar bars.

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