Smoking indoors in Illinois has come to an end and with it goes Cigar Aficionado's Big Smoke Chicago.
Due to a stringent state ban that went into effect on January 1, the annual revelry in smoke and spirits will not be able to return for its 14th year in the Windy City. Big Smokes continued in Las Vegas and New York City following similar legislation [See bottom of page for details on ticket ordering], but the Smoke Free Illinois Act did not allow for an exception.
"The enthusiasm for the Chicago Big Smoke is always something we looked forward to," said Lynn Rittenband, senior vice president for events marketing for M. Shanken Communications, Inc., publisher of Cigar Aficionado. "We tried every plan we could think of, but there is no wiggle room, no exceptions or exemptions."
The event had been booked at the Hyatt Regency at O'Hare International Airport, the event's longtime host, since May. According to the hotel, local authorities told Hyatt representatives last spring that the 2008 Big Smoke event could go as scheduled. However, after reviewing a detailed copy of the law last week, the establishment's lawyers concluded that there was no way to allow any smoking on the premises.
Tickets for the Big Smoke Chicago went on sale in mid-January. Those who booked a ticket already were sent a letter from Cigar Aficionado notifying them of the event's cancellation. As a precautionary measure, no credit cards had been charged.
The New York City Big Smoke will take place on November 25 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The event will feature two sessions: one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Online ordering will be available beginning April 15.
Click here for more information on the Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend.