Cigar Aficionado

Bar Owners Hold Smoking Protest

A group of frustrated bar owners displayed their disapproval of a Kanawha County, West Virginia, smoking ban Thursday night by allowing their customers to smoke inside.

"If I don't want to pray, I don't go to church. If you don't want to smoke, don't come here," said Kerry Ellison, owner of the Black Hawk Saloon, to The Charleston Gazette.

About a dozen bars in Kanawha County participated in the "smoke-in" despite the threat of $200 to $1,000 fines.

The Kanawha bar owners have been vehemently fighting the smoking ban, which took effect June 1. The ban prohibits smoking in all public spaces, including bars and restaurants.

Bar owners staged a protest on August 4, picketing the front door of the Health Department. They also plan to file insurance claims with the department, seeking lost revenue they claim is a result of the ban.