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Councilwoman pushes to amend definition of New Orleans cigar bars

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

New Orleans City Council pushes to amend a proposed ordinance to create a new definition for a cigar bar in New Orleans.

Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, who represents the French Quarter, wants to amend the city zoning ordinance to create a new definition of what a cigar bar is. But she wants more public input.

Earlier this year, council voted unanimously to ban smoking inside most bars as well as hotels and casinos. The ban goes into effect in April.

Ramsey's proposal would recognize a tobacco retail business as an establishment whose main business is the sale of tobacco products, and one where the sale of tobacco products for on-site consumption accounts for at least 70 percent of the business' revenue.

The proposed new definition of what a cigar bar is would help La Habana Hemingway Cigar Bar, an establishment in the French Quarter that is licensed by the state.

The new definition would allow La Habana to sell alcohol as a restaurant. La Habana finds itself in a bind because restaurants have for years been barred from allowing smoking.

However, if the business switches to a tobacco retail business, it could permit smoking and sell alcohol.

The ordinance redefining the definition of a cigar bar is not expected to come up for a vote until the middle of March.

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