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EBR Metro Council approves proposed ban of smoking from bars, casinos

An ordinance to ban smoking from bars and casinos in the parish was approved by the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council Wednesday, August 9, 2017. The time for lighting up inside area bars and casinos is limited now that the council has moved ahead with the controversial decision.  Council members passed the measure in a 7 to 5 vote after deferring it for two months in June and coming to a gridlock over a similar ban last year. There was no shortage of folks fired up on both sides of the issue at Wednesday's meeting. "Your fines are an unjustified infliction of suffering on peaceful, consenting adults," one speaker against the measure said. "I've never smoked a cigarette in my life and I don't feel that secondhand smoke should affect me," another speaker in support of the ban said. Perhaps the most emotional plea though came from George Newman, a 79-year-old veteran and former smoker who literally begging the council for relief, addressing them while using his throat ventilator. "Please, please enforce and pass a

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Lafayette smokers and non-smokers ready for a breath of fresh air

Starting on August 1st, it will be illegal to smoke, including e-cigarettes, in bars and public places like parks in the city of Lafayette. The city-parish council approved the ordinance on April 18. "There's 17 years worth of nicotine on these walls. We're really excited about the possibility of it not smelling like a cigarette in here anymore," said Andrew Monceaux, the owner of Marley's in downtown. Right now nearly 76,000 Louisiana residents smoke, placing the state at 43rd out of 50 for tobacco use, according to the 2016 America's Health Ranking Report. " it's a very important public health issue to protect all workers and the public from the dangers of second hand smoke," said Rene Stansbury, the regional manager for Louisiana Tobacco-Free Living. Some people, both smokers and non-smokers, seem to be ready for the breath of fresh air. "Being a smoker I hate that smoke lingers all night long so it's a good thing," said Amanda Broussard, who works at Marley's. Some bar owners are welcoming the change in

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Letters: Smoking ban helps public health

The East Baton Rouge Parish preterm birth rate is the second-highest in the state and one of the highest in the nation at 12.5 percent. In addition, with the parish having the highest infant mortality rate in the state at 11 percent, a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance could reduce exposure of secondhand smoke to every employee, patron and future mother to improve the area's birth outcomes.   Secondhand smoke has numerous adverse effects on the health of women of child bearing age, pregnant women, their babies and children. Secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of preterm birth, low birthweight, birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome , asthma, allergies and ear infections. A mother's exposure to secondhand smoke can also damage the lungs and brain in the fetus as well as reducing fetal growth.   No employee should have to choose between their health or a healthy birth outcome and a paycheck. Every employee deserves a healthy, smoke-free workplace and a healthy baby.   We hope the Baton Rouge Metro Council passes the comprehensive

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Smoking prohibited in Lafayette bars

Smoking, including electronic cigarettes, will no longer be allowed in Lafayette bars, clubs and any public places. With a 7-2 vote of the Lafayette City-Parish Council Tuesday, Lafayette becomes the 11th city in Louisiana to extend its smoking ban to all clubs and bars, following the example of New Orleans. The ban applies to bars, clubs, gaming facilities and expanded-service restaurants in the city of Lafayette and unincorporated parts of Lafayette Parish. The ban does not apply to other municipalities -- Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott and Youngsville. It also applies to spaces like Parc International and other public parks. Local musician David Egan previously spoke to the council, asking for a smoking ban that was voted down in 2015. Tuesday, his widow, Rhonda Egan, spoke in his place. David Egan died a year ago from lung cancer even though he quit smoking 20 years ago. "As a musician, he exposed himself to second-hand smoke trying to make a living for his family," she said. In 2005, the council first banned smoking in restaurants and some

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Is it time for Lafayette to go smoke-free?

Is it time that Lafayette goes smoke-free? On April 5, 2017, the Lafayette Parish City Council will introduce a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance to prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars, nightclubs, and gaming facilities. According to The Independent, five of the council’s nine members — Kenneth Boudreaux, Nanette Cook, Bruce Conque, Pat Lewis and Kevin Naquin — are co-sponsors of the bill, meaning it already has the simple majority needed to pass. Those in favor of the ordinance believe that this would be a major step in the right direction to protect public health in the sixth largest city in Louisiana. In 2007, all Louisiana workplaces and restaurants became 100% smoke free with the passage of the Louisiana Smoke Free Air Act. The statewide law also fully restored local control, to give local governments like Lafayette Consolidated Government the ability to expand smoke-free protections in their communities for areas not covered by the state law, such as bars and casinos. A big question when the topic of going smoke-free

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Alexandria celebrates five years tobacco free

The city of Alexandria  earned recognition this month for pledging to be a "tobacco-free city" five years ago. Officials gathered at the Bentley Hotel last week to celebrate the success of the enforcement of a Smoke-Free Ordinance, which prohibits smoking in "all enclosed public places of employment, including bars and gaming facilities." Alexandria was the first city in Louisiana to become smoke-free in 2012. At the event, Mayor Jacques Roy said the city took a "strong stand" to pass the ordinance, despite it being "unpopular" with business owners. "In a lot of cases it wasn't even the health aspect that was argued," Roy said. "I think it's understood that smoking is dangerous to everyone who is around it. But we felt that we needed to stay strong and pass this ordinance. We owe it to the people of this great city to show them that we care, and this is only one way that we have done that." However, the American Lung Association's latest State of Tobacco Control

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