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After the failure of the smoking ban, Louisiana Senate studied the protection against passive smoking

After unsuccessful attempts to pass a law that prohibits smoking in casinos, bars and sports arenas across the state, a lawmaker from Acadiana arranged Thursday for an investigation into attempts to protect non-smokers against passive smoking. House Concurrent Resolution 76 was approved Thursday on a 33-0 vote in the Senate. The Louisiana Public Health Institute is called upon in the resolution to convene a committee of 22 members, chosen by associations representing health, business, gambling and local government interests. The commission gathers information on how tobacco smoke inhaled by non-smokers, medical costs and diseases, and compares the economic consequences of implementing a smoke-free policy throughout the state in other parishes and states. "Not that there is not a lot of information there, I felt like Louisiana companies and lawmakers had to go to the table to talk," said Opelousas Democrat and main sponsor of the law, Rep. Dustin Miller. In April, Miller proposed HB881 to extend the existing law, which was passed in 2006 to ban smoking in

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Baton Rouge smoking ban advocates declare success in clearing the air

The coalition that urged East Baton Rouge Parish leaders to adopt a smoking ban last year are claiming indoor air pollution levels at most public places has dropped 98.8 percent since the smoke-free ordinance went into effect six months ago. A study released Wednesday by leaders with Smoke-Free East Baton Rouge says the reduced levels of air pollution means employees and patrons in Baton Rouge's bars and casinos are no longer being exposed to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, which had been a major argument in the push for the ban. "We were not surprised by the results but were certainly excited to have confirmation that Baton Rouge area bars and casinos are no longer exposing workers or patrons to hazardous levels of air pollution resulting from indoor smoking,” Raegan Carter, a spokesman for Smoke-Free East Baton Rouge, said in a news release Wednesday announcing the results of the study. Smoke-Free East Baton Rouge is a coalition of organizations backing efforts to prevent service workers and musicians from being exposed to secondhand smoke.

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Baton Rouge smoking ban now in effect

Nearly a year after the Metro Council passed a ban on smoking in most public places, the law is set to take effect on Friday. The Metro Council approved the smoking ban in August but set it up so the law wouldn’t take effect until June 1. That way, bars and casinos had a 10-month period to build outdoor areas where patrons could smoke. Phil Brady’s owner Joe Hall said he banned smoking inside the Government Street blues bar on May 1, a month in advance of the new law. “It has not hurt us one bit,” said Hall. “If anything, our Thursday night business has gone up a little bit. More people are coming through the door and saying to me they really appreciate that we’ve banned smoking.” For the past 10 years, smoking has been banned inside of Phil Brady’s on the weekends, out of consideration for the musicians who were performing on stage. “Most bands kind of expect to perform in a no-smoking place,” Hall said. Because of this, Hall had pushed for a smoking ban for the past few years. “Baton Rouge has been

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Smoke-Free Louisiana Campaign Asks Legislators to Say Yes for A Policy to Protect All of the Louisiana Workforce

It's been three years since a smoking ban cleared the air in New Orleans' bars and entertainment venues. Now, a proposal could expand the ban statewide.   A measure that will be introduced Tuesday (April 3) by Representative Dustin Miller calls for a statewide comprehensive smoke-free policy that would make all workplaces, including bars, casinos and gaming facilities smoke-free.   The Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act, which went into effect in January 2007 prohibits smoking in most public places and workplaces, including all restaurants with or without attached bars. But it does not protect employees in bars and gaming facilities.   Fourteen cities and municipalities in Louisiana have already passed comprehensive smoking bans including Baton Rouge, Lafayette (both in 2017), Bogalusa in 2016, New Orleans and Hammond in 2015.   The proposal is supported by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Louisiana, which kicked off its Smoke-Free Louisiana Campaign Tuesday (April 3) to build support behind Miller's proposal.

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Louisiana teens rally at Capitol for National Kick Butts Day

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, youth from across Louisiana gathered in Baton Rouge with a simple message: Health for all. Louisiana youth are some of the unhealthiest in the nation, and as a result a group of concerned youth came together with support from Healthier Air For All and Louisiana School-Based Health Alliance to let their legislators know now is the time for change. For example, current tobacco use by both middle and high school students in Louisiana are higher than the national average - approximately 14.9 percent of Louisiana middle and 28.9 percent of Louisiana high school students, compared to 7.2 percent of middle and 20.0 percent of high school students on the national level. Additionally, 18.3 percent of Louisiana youth are overweight and 17 percent are obese, according to the 2017 Louisiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey results. Finally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015, Louisiana had the highest rates of syphilis among adolescents nationwide, the second highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among adolescents,

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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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