A possible change in Columbia TMs smoking ban is still cloudy

City Council will once again take up the indoor smoking ban dispute in the coming weeks.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A new Columbia City Council tackling an old issue at their meeting on Wednesday.

The Tobacco Merchant came under fire from officials earlier this year for violating Columbia's indoor smoking ban.

The city considers the business a bar since it also sells beer and wine; but The Tobacco Merchant disagrees.

The Tobacco Merchant is a retail tobacco shop and that's their primary business, said attorney Darryl Smalls for The Tobacco Merchant.

The Tobacco Merchant claims that beer and wine account for only 8 percent of their total sales.

According to Smalls, under the city TMs current ordinance, tobacco retailers are allowed to sell incidental items -- and alcohol is one of the products they sell incidentally.

The Cigar Box on Rosewood will also be affected by the city council's decision.

Manager Travis Roberts agrees with one of the amended proposals the city is considering.

A cigar bar has to generate 35 percent or more of its gross income pertaining to the sale of cigars, said city attorney Ken Gaines.

Oh yeah, if you are a tobacco store you should have no problem, said Roberts.

Council members decided to hold off on making a decision Wednesday because all members were not present.