Lafayette, the fourth largest city in Louisiana, today became the 11th municipality in the state to pass a city-wide smoke-free ordinance.
The Healthier Air For All Campaign, a campaign of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL), applaud and thank the Lafayette City-Parish Council for their votes in favor of protecting the health of all Lafayette employees by making all workplaces, including bars and bingo halls, smoke-free.
The smoke-free measure, passed today by Councilmembers Kenneth Boudreaux, Liz Webb Hebert, Kevin Naquin, Pat Lewis, Nanette Cook, Jay Castile and Bruce Conque, ensures that all employees, including bartenders, gaming facility employees, and entertainers, will be protected from the dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace. The ordinance will be implemented on August 1, 2017.
“This ordinance is about protecting the public’s health, plain and simple,” said Tonia Moore, Director of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living (TFL). “Workers in bars and bingo halls in Lafayette have a right to breathe clean air. I applaud the Lafayette City-Parish Council for their courage in passing this ordinance."
Under Act 815, free-standing bars and gaming facilities were exempted from having smoke-free workplaces, and local governing bodies were given the power to enact stronger local smoke-free policies. However, Lafayette led the charge by becoming the first city in Louisiana to vote for and pass a smoke-free restaurant ordinance. And again today, Lafayette joins ten other municipalities throughout the state that feature city and parish-wide smoke-free ordinances, including New Orleans, Hammond, Sulphur, Monroe City, West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, the town of Cheneyville, the town of Woodworth, Bogalusa and Alexandria.
“I think this smoke-free ordinance is one of the greatest things that could ever to come to this area,” said Joseph Wayne Singleton, of Wayne Singleton and the Same ol Two Step. “Being a cancer survivor myself, it will help musicians like me live a little bit longer and have an easier night performing for those who love to dance, enjoy the music and have maybe stayed away because of the smoke.”
“This is a critical public health issue and the time is right to address it. Bar and gaming facility employees involuntarily inhale enough secondhand smoke every day to suffer some of the same negative health effects of pack-a-day smokers and prolonged exposure can damage performers’ vocal chords or shut them down entirely. Thank you to our City-Parish Council for taking a stand for the health for all of Lafayette.” said Rene Stansbury, Regional Manager, Greater Lafayette area, for TFL.
More than 6,500 Louisianans die from smoking-related causes yearly and costs Louisiana almost $1.5 billion in health care costs every year. The evidence on secondhand smoke’s toll on public health is clear. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of them are toxic and at least 69 cause cancer. In addition, the Surgeon General has found that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome, and low birth weight in infants and children.