Blowing Smoke: Could Shreveport go smoke free?

Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 8:45pm

30 states don't allow smoking in bars; 19 states have outlawed it in casinos. With the exception of Alexandria and Ouachita Parish, Louisiana allows it in both.

In 2012, Alexandria became the first Louisiana city to go smoke free. At the time bar owners didn't know what to expect. Finnegans Wake owner Galen Bohannon knew that in larger metropolitan areas, going smoke free increased sales. That's just what happened at his bar, almost immediately. He estimates that his sales went up about 20%.

Even smokers support the ban, not minding stepping outside to smoke. Even regular smoker Jacob Swift said that he would often leave smoky bars with a headache.

But could a ban of this sort happen in Shreveport?

Louisiana's Tobacco Free Living thinks it could, although in twin cities like Shreveport-Bossier, both sides need to support the ban. Even with casinos, the group thinks Shreveport-Bossier going smoke free is feasible.

With the success of the new smoke-free Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland and other major multi-million dollar ones in Maryland, the group Americans for Non Smokers' Rights doesn't think the local casinos will suffer in revenue by going smoke free.

However, both organizations stress that one thing must happen for Shreveport-Bossier to go smoke free; the people must want it. There is no doubt that second hand smoke is bad for health, but constituents must voice their wishes to policy makers so that they know.


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