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Businesses Exempt From Possible Smoking Ban

October 28, 2010, 5:03 PM by Hailey Higgins

Businesses Exempt From Possible Smoking Ban
SIOUX FALLS, SD - South Dakota voters on Election Day get a final say on a 2009 law expanding the state's indoor smoking ban to all indoor establishments - except three businesses.

Long before his customers arrive, Tim Kant cleans Stogeez Cigar Lounge. He owns the business and Eastwold's Smoke Shop in downtown Sioux Falls. You'd think the possibility of a state-wide ban would concern him.

"I'm not really going either way on this, you know. I was trying to protect my business. I'm exempt either way. I don't care if it passes really one way or another," Kant said.

Kant spent two years lobbying in Pierre to make sure his businesses don't go up in smoke. He said he spent $5,000 in market research and transportation for what he calls a small investment for his businesses.
"It was a tough thing. It was close. It was 26-24, I think one of the votes was. So it was really close," Kant said.

Because smoking is his business, lawmakers set stipulations on the ban that would still allow people to light up inside.

At least ten percent of Stogeez's business must be from the sale of cigars and at Eastwold's, at least 60 percent of sales must be from tobacco.

"Anytime that fell below 60 percent sales from tobacco then we'd lose the exemption and not be able to smoke in a smoke shop. That would be kind of goofy," Kant said.

Kant said if voters approve the bill, business would probably increase but he doesn't expect to see a big spike, even if he does own two of the only places in the state they may be allowed to smoke indoors.

Deadwood Tobacco in Deadwood South Dakota would also be exempt if voters approve a smoke-free state.

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