Possible new smoking law for Louisiana - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Possible new smoking law for Louisiana

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Smokers in bars, or smokers in casinos could soon be forced to put it out. In 2007 the Louisiana legislator passed a bold law prohibiting people from smoking in public places.

"So that in public buildings, such as city hall, anything like that, any restaurant. All of those are smoke free,"said Senator Willie Mount.

The 2007 lawn excluded bars, and casinos, specifically. But, current legislation looks to remove those two exclusions. Senator Mount said the bill, authored by Senator Rob Marineaux, looks to protect people who do not smoke, and want to stay clear of second hand smoke.

"We lose over 53-thousand Americans, every year, to lung cancer, second hand smoke, or the causes of second hand smoke. In Louisiana it's 11-hundred," said Senator Mount.

But, not everyone is behind this bill. Sarah Jones is a bartender at Micci's, in Lake Charles. She is not a smoker herself, but she is afraid this legislation could be bad for business.

"My fear for is that it is going to affect a lot of us negatively," said Sarah Jones.

She feels like the anti smoking law could keep people from going to the bars and casinos, or  worse, it could make for an unfair advantage for and Indian casino, not regulated by state law.

"If they don't want to be around smoke there are plenty of other places for them to go, or things for them to do. People that are bothered by the smoke probably stay out of bars and casinos, because they know there is smoke there," said Jones.

People with the Louisiana gaming industry believe such a ban on smoking could make the state less competitive with other nearby states, that allow smoking in casinos.

"What we've seen in other jurisdictions, that have imposed these bans, is revenue losses, which also means tax losses, anywhere from ten, fifteen, seventeen percent," said Wade Duty with the Louisiana Casino Association.

The bill, aimed at cutting out second hand smoke, has passed in the Louisiana Senate, and it now must go before the house.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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