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

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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 atmosphere

"It's my 33rd year in the service industry. The first 20 I did smoke and the last 10 I have not so I see both sides of the argument and I'm glad it did finally pass," said Monceaux.

Miami Moon, another bar in Lafayette, went ahead and made the transition before the deadline

"It's been this way in other cities we just give people choices. We got plans in order to get the patio done to get people used to the idea that it was coming," said Larry Boudreaux, the manager of Miami Moon. "Some people have a problem with coming outside to do it but they get used to it"

Bars can have outside patios, like Miami Moon's and Marley's, for smokers as long as it is five feet from the doorway.

"People have embraced the fact that they will be able to breathe a smoke free environment. If they really want to smoke they can just go outside. We have a great smoking pavilion outside which will help matters tremendously," said the Marley's owner.

But it's not just bars that will see a change, its public parks too.

The ordinance also states that smokers will have to light cigarettes at least 25 feet from youth focused areas of the park like playgrounds, concession stands, bleachers  and pavilions

"I think it's a great idea that you know we try to stop the smoking or cut down as much as we can, especially in places where there's kids and also it might stop them from smoking so much," said Lawrence Williams who is a father and grandfather in the area.

 In the end, even some smokers appreciate the change.

"I probably smoke the most in a bar because I can so the fact that I won't be able to smoke inside the bar is actually going to make me smoke less which is probably not a bad thing. So I'm smoking it up tonight." said Broussard

Organizers with Smoking Cessation Trust are hoping that this ban will help people kick the habit. To learn more about committing to quitting click here.