The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living plans to introduce a smoke-free law in Monroe and West Monroe. If Ouachita Parish Police Jury apprived it, smoking will be prohibited in bingo halls and bars where smoking is permitted today.
The proposed initiative will be presented to the West Monroe Board of Aldermen and Monroe City Council on September 10. It will be deliberated by the Police Jury on September 16.
In 2012 the city of Alexandria introduced the first smoke-free ordinance. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center’s School of Public Health together with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living made a study in bingo halls and bars in Alexandria after introduction of smoke-free law. The study found that the air quality has imporved by 97%.
Jennifer Haneline, regional coordinator for The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, said that the smoke-free law is not against smokers. Its main aim is to protect bar workers from tobacco smoke because it was proved that secondhand smoke has negative effects on human body.
When it comes to air quality, local governments are those who are responsible for protecting public health. Generally, today people know thair rights and fight for them, thus they ask where is the border between private life and government decisions? Haneline replies that it is not about taking away people’s rights, it is about improving health. Some owners of bars support the initiative while others talk about loss of revenue,
Studies on revenues showed that implementation of smoke-free laws do maintain or rise revenues. In fact, smoke-free laws have positive effects on people because 80% of the population doesn’t smoke. Many people prefer to stay away from places where people smoke, because they do not want to smell like cigarettes. If the proposed law comes into effect, smokers would be required to smoke cigarettes at least 15 feet from these facilities.