Cigar Aficionado

Battling the Houston Ban

On the heels of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America convention, the Houston smoking ban is going into effect in September, but some local business owners are poised to fight it in court.

Members of the Houston Association of Alcoholic Beverage Permit Holders have filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the citywide ordinance passed in October unfairly treats stand-alone bars, according to the Associated Press. The current law already prohibits smoking in enclosed restaurants but allows patrons to puff in stand-alone bars. Under the new law, smoking will still be allowed on patios, in cigar bars and in establishments deriving a significant amount of revenue from tobacco sales, but bars that do not fit into these parameters will not have the option of allowing customers to light up indoors.

The bar owners claim that the city government does not have the authority to regulate their businesses in this way and wants the court to stop enforcement.