BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - People smoking is a familiar site inside bars and casinos, but no longer in the in the Capital City. June 1 was the first day of a smoke-free Baton Rouge.
"It is amazing thing to be sitting here, waking up in Baton Rouge today in a smoke free city," says Ashley Hebert of the American Heart Association.
The Smoke Free Baton Rouge Council celebrated Friday morning. This new law also includes the use of e-cigarettes. The American Heart Association is one of the council's partners. They say this is just one step towards a healthier work environment.
"No one should have to choose between their health and a paycheck. We have about 3,000 casino and bar employees in this city that are faced with secondhand smoke every day and it's putting their health at risk," says Herbert.
Businesses had about a year to prepare for the changes, while some were already on board. The owner of Bulldogs on Perkins Road says he hopes everyone will see what they've been seeing. "It evens the playing for us, and now the rest of the city is going to find out what we already know, that you can do business in a smoke-free workplace and still be profitable," said Remi Dematteo.
Figuring out how to accommodate every customer wasn't the easiest task. Hollywood Casino says they were determined to find a way.
"It's a little too early to tell, but we definitely think it's going to impact gaming, so we've tried to make preparations for that. This is one of the things we've done here, this outdoor smoking and gaming patio," said Aaron Mollura, vice president of marketing at Hollywood Casino.
The casino created a 350 square foot outdoor space where visitors can smoke and still have fun. Mollura says their customers are important and they want to make sure to keep them happy. "You know, people come to enjoy themselves and so we want people to have this opportunity to have a place where they can go, so we simply saw it as a good investment for us," said Mollura.
Cigar bars and shops are the only businesses that aren't impacted by the ban.