jason_hutchinson_jakes-cigarThe shear stupidity that is government has struck again, this time in Nebraska.

Nebraska’s Supreme Court has struck down two exceptions to the state’s public smoking ban, a move which is very likely to destroy some small-business owners as it will outlaw enjoying a fine cigar inside a cigar lounge or tobacco shop. However, the court’s decision has sparred exceptions that allow for guests to smoke in some hotel rooms.

The decision was made this past Friday, in the case of an Omaha pool hall, Big John’s Billiards, whose owner sued the state after it enacted a public smoking ban in 2009. The Nebraska smoking ban had outlawed smoking in all public buildings and private businesses. The law, however, did allow exceptions for cigar lounges, tobacco stores and some hotel rooms.

In a split decision, the Nebraska Supreme Court has decided that because hotel guestrooms are “akin to private homes,” the exception for hotel rooms is permissible. It decided however that the exception for cigar lounges and tobacco shops is “unconstitutional”.

Via The Lincoln Journal Star:

Jason “Hutch” Hutchison fears Jake’s Cigars and Spirits’ bottom line will suffer a serious blow after a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling Friday essentially banning smoking in cigar bars.

The 39-year-old bar owner said the state’s cigar bar exemption allowed him to expand his business in Lincoln and Omaha, hire more staff, start new ventures and give back to the community.

Now, he expects he may lose up to 10 percent of his revenue in light of the Supreme Court decision, which also struck down exemptions to the state’s indoor smoking ban for tobacco shops.

The court upheld the overall smoking ban.

“It’s disappointing that one business threw a temper tantrum, and now they’ve basically ruined it for cigar smokers all across the state,” Hutchison said.

Big John’s Billiards, an Omaha pool hall, has fought the state’s ban since its inception.

Instead of scrapping the ban, the Supreme Court struck down exemptions in the law which it considered special legislation and contrary to lawmakers’ initial intent.

The lawyer for Big John’s said he now hopes state lawmakers will level the playing field in regard to the smoking ban.

But cigar bars and tobacco shops fear their revenue will suffer, and with no immediate guidance on enforcement from the state, some owners may voluntarily end cigar smoking before their permits are up to stay out of trouble. Read More…

Here in Ohio we have a smoking ban as well, but thankfully we are still allowed to go to our local cigar lounge and enjoy a smoke with fellow cigar lovers. Hopefully stupid nanny state loving liberals don’t try to end that here as well.