Anti-smoking laws leave some LSU smokers feeling burned

Anti-smoking laws leave some LSU smokers feeling burned

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new push for a tobacco-free city-parish, some LSU smokers don't want any part of it.

"Seems that smokers are a very popular group to kick around," said Alex Townsend, LSU senior.

Tuesday, Mayor-President Kip Holden joined local hospital officials to kick-off a week-long campaign to encourage Baton Rouge to not smoke, vape or use any other kind of tobacco. The mayor says that message will be found in hospitals, clinics and on social media.

"2015 will be the first year where all of our local hospitals and healthcare organizations will have tobacco-free campuses," said Mayor Holden.

LSU is supposed to be a tobacco-free campus, but on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, 9News found plenty of smokers.

"Besides my RA, who gets in my face every now and then, it seems like it's really people coming up and saying, 'Hey, you really shouldn't be smoking.' And the nature of smokers that I know is, 'whatever, dude, sure,'" said Nicholas Mascaro, LSU freshman.

Some students says they feel pushed aside as smoking is becoming less welcome.

Last week, lawmakers in New Orleans approved a sweeping ban on smoking in the Crescent City, including in bars and casinos.

"Tobacco is the major, major cause of death and destruction in our society," said Dr. Jay Brooks of Ochsner Medical Ctr. in Baton Rouge.

That measure inspired Tuesday's event at Town Square and a special pledge by students at McKinley High School.

"I'm making the pledge because smoking is bad for your lungs and your health and I want to live a long, healthy life," said Jada Gabriel, a senior at McKinley High School.

Students signed a prop cigarette, pledging to take a stand against smoking, to never start. Meantime, students 9News talked with at LSU, want no one telling them to stop.

"We're not sitting out here smoking to just to blow it in everybody's faces. We're sitting out here smoking because this is what we've always done," said a smoker who asked not to be identified.

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