In a move to protect the health of musicians and late-night workers, the New Orleans City Council has voted unanimously to ban smoking in bars and gambling halls.
New Orleans had been one of the last major American cities to allow people to smoke tobacco in bars. Smoking at indoor restaurants is no longer permitted. The new ban is expected to take effect in three months.
The ban was tweaked before being approved. For instance, New Orleans police won't have to enforce the ordinance and smoking will be allowed within 5 feet of bar entrances — not 25 feet away.
Louisiana's legislature passed a law in 2013 prompting all state colleges and universities to go tobacco-free by Aug. 1 of this year. It's been almost two months now since tobacco products have officially been banned on LSU's Baton Rouge campus.
Smoking in bars might become a thing of the past in New Orleans. City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and other organizations recently brought a smoke-free week to the city. That’s meant to raise support for a ban on smoking in bars.
New Orleans is known as a place where people like to unwind. Go-cups, ice-cold daiquiris, rich food, music and good times.
One aspect of this experience might be about to change.
A drive kicks off this week to ban smoking in New Orleans bars.
Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell is backing the idea. She says the change would benefit local businesses.
“This has been going on across the country for over a decade now," she said. "And so we have real facts that it is not a negative impact on our businesses. Actually revenues increase. And it’s cheaper to maintain a bar or lounge that is smoke free than one that is not.”
Cantrell says the effort will begin at various venues this week that are now voluntarily smoke-free.