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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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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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