SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The Shreveport City Council has approved an ordinance that makes all workplaces in Shreveport smoke-free, including bars and gaming facilities.
The voting happened Tuesday afternoon. According to the Smoke-Free Louisiana Coalition, the ordinance offers smoke-free protections for all Shreveport workers.
The coalition says they expressed great support to council members who voted in favor of the smoke-free legislation. The members who voted in favor are Councilman Boucher, Councilman Bowman, Councilman Flurry, Councilwoman Fuller, and Councilman Nickelson.
“Whether you’re a teacher, bartender, or card dealer, no employee in Shreveport should have to be exposed to deadly secondhand smoke every second of their work shift,” Coalition spokesperson Ashley Hebert said in a news release Tuesday.
“We are excited the City Council took action on this life-saving ordinance that will help address many of the health equity challenges facing the Shreveport community.”
“The Council’s decision means thousands of employees won’t continue to be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke on the job,” said Tonia Moore, Director, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL).
“No one should have to put their health at risk just to earn a paycheck or enjoy a night out,” More said.
The current Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act (Act 815), established in January 2007, prohibits smoking in most public places and workplaces, including all restaurants with or without attached bars; it did not include bars and gaming facilities, according to the coalition.
The coalition says that each day, Shreveport delayed in establishing smoke-free bars and casinos added to healthcare costs, cost employers’ productivity, and resulted in the loss of income from potential visitors to the area. Data shows thousands of Louisianians die from smoking-related causes yearly and smoking drains Louisiana of almost $1.89 billion in health care costs every year.
There are 29 cities and municipalities in Louisiana that have already enacted comprehensive smoke-free policies including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette, three of the state’s largest and most visited cities.
“While the choice to smoke is a personal one, no one has a ‘right’ to actively harm another person against his or her will,” said Raegan Carter, a consultant with Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights.
“Secondhand smoke exposure is a clear issue of public health, and now that everyone is acutely aware of public health and safety issues, we believe this is the perfect time to protect all workers.”
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General found that secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, serious respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.
The coalition also says the Surgeon General also found that secondhand smoke is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year, there is no safe level of exposure, and only smoke-free laws provide effective protection. The evidence is also clear that smoke-free laws protect health without harming business.