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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Don Bubba cigars one of the last smoker-friendly places left in Illinois

Don Bubba Cigars is one of the very few remaining tobacco shops in IL where you can still smoke at. This shop is located in Peoria. Although I neva been there, I met Don Bubba himself at a cigar party back in Nov. 2007. I rememba him mentioning he sells hookahs too. But I saw all of his cigars at the party. He definitely has a good tasting cigar, although the one I smoked was considered to be a mild cigar.

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Smoking lounge hopes to profit off ban
Don Bubba Cigars among last havens for smokers in Illinois
Monday, December 31, 2007
PEORIA - Ian Farquharson used to buy, sell and trade electronics, jewelry and stereos from his business at 1413 NE Adams St.

After clearing out the stacks of old computers and laying down a few Oriental-style rugs, he has turned his former Super Swap Shop into one of the last retreats for central Illinois smokers.

Farquharson, owner of Don Bubba Cigars, recently opened a smoking lounge with couches, tables, a television and music so smokers can hang out and light up.

"As long as it's legal, they can smoke it here," said the man known to friends as "Don Bubba."

The lounge, attached to his cigar shop, will sell cigars, tobacco for hookahs, pre-packaged snacks and cups of strong Cuban coffee to customers 18 and older. Farquharson also plans on providing hookahs - water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco - for a fee to interested customers.

And according to the wording of the new statewide smoking ban, which takes effect at midnight tonight, he won't be breaking the law.

The law states that retail tobacco stores where at least 80 percent of the gross income comes from the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products may allow smoking inside the business.

The stores also must file affidavits each year with the Department of Public Health showing their percentage of sales from tobacco. And once the act is in effect, only freestanding structures that are solely occupied by the business can qualify for an exemption. Current tobacco stores that share space with other shops - like Farquharson' s store - will be grandfathered in, the law reads.

But Farquharson, 37, said his plans for a smoking lounge were in the works well before the law was passed.

"Before the smoking ban was even here, I wanted to do it," he said. " I wanted to do it because I would go somewhere and everyone would look at me like, 'I don't like cigars.' And you can't take a hookah anywhere."

Whether or not the idea of a smoking lounge will catch on with smokers is still unclear, but Farquharson and his customers think the new room will spark interest and sales.

"I think this will probably help his business a lot," customer Jeff Lueders said recently between puffs on a cigar.

Lueders, 41, said the new law will give cigar aficionados few locations where they can legally smoke.

"They can either sit at home and smoke or, if they want to get out and meet somewhere, a tobacco shop is about the only other place they'll be able to go," he said. "That or someplace outside."

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