Advocates making second effort to ban smoking in bars and casinos

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Dozens of people showed up at a rally on Wednesday at the Cinemark Theater in Perkins Rowe to support expanding a smoke free ordinance to include bars and casinos.

That included five councilwomen: Barabara Freiberg, Erika Green, Chauna Banks, Donna Collins-Lewis, and Tara Wicker.

The ordinance failed last year, when the council had a tie vote of six to six.

But the organization Smoke Free Baton Rouge says a similar measure is in the works.

Advocates say they are most concerned about the employees at bars and casinos that inhale second hand smoke.

"We realize that here in East Baton Rouge Parish, there are three thousand bar and casino workers that work in smoke field places right now, and so we realize that to prevent illnesses, that those workers also deserve to have smoke free environments," said Raegan Carter, a Spokesperson for Smoke Free Baton Rouge.

"I'm a progressive thinker, I think that we have new members that are the same way," said Green. "I think that this is the time to push it forward."

The council needs seven votes to pass such a measure.

Wade Duty, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Casinos Association, sent a statement to WAFB:

The Louisiana Casino Association retains the concerns it had the last time the issue of forcing private businesses to prohibit smoking for its adult customers was raised.  We believe both our customers and employees are educated and therefore able to choose for themselves the environment they wish to enter.  Despite the speculative claims of persons who promote smoking bans that such bans would actually increase the number of customers visiting casinos, real world experience in Colorado, Illinois, New Orleans and other locations which have imposed such bans in casinos clearly shows otherwise. The areas where smoking is allowed is limited to only our gaming floors as smoking is not allowed in the restaurants, administrative areas, support areas, meeting spaces, theaters, lobbies and other common spaces. Therefore a substantial portion of our facilities are already non-smoking.

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