Saturday, May 3, 2008
City Seeks Cigar Store Smoke Ban
By Jeremy Hunt
Journal Staff Writer
A proposed city ordinance amendment has cigar store owners concerned about the future of their businesses.
"It'll be devastating," said Larry Montes, owner of Montes Pueblo Pipe Shop on Louisiana near Menual NE. "I'll lose a significant amount of sales and revenue."
Under the amendment, smoking would not be allowed in retail cigar stores, which are exempt from the statewide ban under the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act.
Michael Cadigan, the councilor who introduced the amendment, said smoke from cigar stores finds its way to neighboring businesses.
He said businesses next door to Montes' have complained about smoke getting into their building. But Montes said the city and fire marshal approved his business after investigating those claims and finding no problems.
The ordinance, introduced Monday, was moved to the Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee for consideration.
Cadigan said the amendment won't hurt business at cigar stores.
Cadigan said that when the Legislature banned smoking in bars, "the same argument was made that everybody would go out of business. The fact is, nobody has gone out of business."
When the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act became law last year, Montes said he established a private club. Private clubs are exempt from the law. The club was fitted with a special ventilation and filtration system.
Cadigan said the ordinance wouldn't affect Montes' private club, although he questions whether the club is in line with state law.
Montes said the law firm he hired researched state and city laws beforehand.
"We did everything within city and state (law)," he said. "Now, eight months after we get approval by the city and state to do this, the rules of engagement are being changed by Mr. Cadigan."