BOGALUSA, LA (WAFB) - On December 20, the City of Bogalusa became the 10th city in Louisiana to pass a city-wide smoke-free ordinance.
Youth in the city were instrumental to the passage of the ordinance, as they presented the dangers of secondhand smoke to the council, highlighting the need for this legislation, which is now the strongest smoke-free ordinance in the state.
The Healthier for All Campaign applauds and thanks the Bogalusa City Council for their votes in favor of protecting the health of all citizens in the city by making all indoor spaces, including bars and gaming facilities, smoke-free.
The measure, championed by Councilwoman Gloria Kates, ensures that all employees and citizens will be protected from the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke.
"The ordinance is about protecting the health for all in Bogalusa, plain and simple. Everyone in Bogalusa has a right to breathe clean air and I applaud the Bogalusa Council for their courage in passing this ordinance," said Tonia Moore, director of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL).
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. Bogalusa joins nine other cities throughout the state that feature city and parish-wide smoke-free ordinances, including New Orleans, Hammond, Sulphur, Monroe City, West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Cheneyville, Woodworth, and Alexandria.
"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. The passing of the ordinance is a huge step in a healthier direction, and I want to thank the Bogalusa council for unanimously taking a stand for the health of all of Bogalusa," said Jaime Bruins, regional manager for the Bogalusa area of TFL.
More than 6,500 Louisianans die from smoking-related causes every year and cost Louisiana almost $1.5 billion in healthcare costs each year. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of them toxic, with at least 69 causing cancer. In addition, the Surgeon General has found that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults, as well as respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome, and low birth weight in infants and children.