Thanks to several laws in the last few years, the DMV area is a smoke-free region in public places. For non-smoking patrons, public smoking bans are a beautiful thing. No more worries about second-hand smoke after going to a bar, no more worrying about your family being around smoke unnecessarily. And generally, just a little bit more fresh air in a crowded restaurant can’t be a bad thing, right?
The specific ban passed by the state of Maryland in 2007 (the Clean Air Act) goes beyond restaurants and pubs – it actually includes outdoor sports venues like FedEx Field. Up until the ban went into effect at the beginning of 2008, FedEx Field actually had a few places designed for smokers, including a nifty cigar bar on the loge level called Club Macanudo. The club was only open to those seated in the premium areas and offered full service meals in addition to allowing patrons to smoke cigars. Once the smoking ban began, the club was no longer able to serve patrons food and drink, and even though it lasted as a simple cigar store for one season, it closed after the 2008 campaign.
This is Dan Snyder we’re talking about, though, so if there is a way to make some coin, he’ll find it. Snyder has secured an exemption from the Maryland Clean Air Act with a new cigar store/establishment on the Joe Gibbs Level with a small technicality: instead of branding it as a cigar bar, the renamed Montecristo Club is now a “tobacco shop.” There is no distinction in the law between cigars and cigarettes, so, voila, club level patrons, you can once again smoke at FedEx Field. The one thing non-smokers can take solace in is that at least the area is contained and not completely public.