Lake Charles now last major LA city to allow smoking in bars and casinos

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 10:07 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Now that Shreveport has passed its Comprehensive Smoke-Free Policy Tuesday, Lake Charles is the last major city in the state that allows smoking in bars and casinos.

However, advocates say it's time Lake Charles makes a change.

According to Brian Burton, CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center, Lake Charles already abides by the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act, but there’s two places it excludes.

“What municipalities and cities have done is gone and make it stronger by making comprehensive policies that include bars and casinos,” says Burton.

John O’Donnell, statewide network manager for Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition says smoke-free doesn’t mean smoking is allowed outside on a patio.

“The rule for the Comprehensive Smoke-Free Policy is that outdoor patios don’t count. It’s a twenty-five-foot from the door rule where you cannot smoke anywhere on the grounds of the establishment. You can have a designated smoking area, but it’s got to be twenty-five-feet away from the door.”

Being the last major city to not have these policies in place, O’Donnell hopes Lake Charles is next.

“We’re the last holdout. We’re the last city in one of the last states to be able to expose workers to second-hand smoke that they don’t ask for.”

The City of Lake Charles, in terms of being the last sent this statement said they are, “open to discussing a proposal of this nature” and, “this is something the administration would like to see discussed on a regional level versus just a single municipality.”

As a whole, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury explained if they were to implement policies, they would, “only apply to unincorporated areas of the parish.”

Also, not everyone is on board including the owner of Cajun’s Wharf Grill and Bar, Hydee Veillon.

“We are absolutely 100% opposed to it simply because of our clientele and it is a bar.”

But, this is something O’Donnell says shouldn’t be delayed. “We want to protect all people from the decisions of a few people.”

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