The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday declared unconstitutional the indoor smoking ban exemptions for cigar bars and tobacco retail outlets.
In its decision, the court upheld the overall ban.
Judge Kenneth Stephan, writing for the majority, said there is no substantial difference in circumstances between cigar bars and other public places or workplaces that justifies treating them differently.
In 2008, the Nebraska Legislature amended the Nebraska Clean Indoor Act to make it “unlawful for any person to smoke in a place of employment or a public place.”
But they provided exemptions for hotel guestrooms, indoor areas used for research on the health effects of smoking, and tobacco retail outlets defined as businesses that only sell tobacco or related products.
The next year, they added another exemption for cigar bars, which they defined as any business receiving at least 10 percent of its annual revenue from cigar sales, with a walk-in humidor on site and one that doesn't allow cigarette smoking.
Big John's Billiards, an Omaha billiards hall, has fought the state's smoking ban since its inception.
Friday's decision followed a 2011 decision by a Lancaster County judge that all three smoking exemptions involving businesses were unconstitutional.