- Grove City, Pennsylvania


January 7, 2008

Feb. 1 indoor smoking ban is opportunity for owner of new business

CUMBERLAND, Md. — The expressed purpose of lawmakers’ public indoor smoking ban is to “preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of the people.”

New business owner Bill “Red” Rice sees the ban not as a limitation but as an opportunity. Rice is scheduled to open on Jan. 14 The Tobacconist Shoppe LLC, in conjunction with Red’s Billiards LLC, both at 114 S. Centre St.

The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently released regulations that give business owners clear guidelines on how to implement the new smoking ban, which is extended generally to any indoor area accessible to the public.

The ban takes effect Feb. 1 and is the result of last year’s Clean Indoor Air Act passed by the Maryland General Assembly. The ban largely affects bars and restaurants but also places restrictions on hotels as well as day care centers and vehicles used to transport the public.

Owners of “tents or shelters must ensure those areas do not meet the definition of an indoor area,” DHMH officials said in a news release. The regulations define an indoor area as “all space in a structure or building with a ceiling that is enclosed on all sides by a combination of permanent or temporary walls, windows or doorways.”

The tobacco shop, Rice said, might not have been planned to coincide with the smoking ban — but it’s coming at just the right time.

“We’ll be the only place in Cumberland where you can smoke a cigar (indoors),” Rice said Wednesday.

Rice is choosing to limit smokers to cigars and pipes in the second-floor parlor, which is adjacent to — but separated by doors from — a bar and four pool tables.

It’s not difficult to play by the state’s new rules, Rice said. He attended one of three public meetings sponsored by the DHMH and told the agency what he plans to do. His original business model had a combined billiards and cigar shop but the new rules require him to separate the idea into two entities.

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