Baton Rouge Becomes Louisiana's 13th Smokefree City!
Effective Date June 1, 2018
Congratulations to the Smokefree East Baton Rouge coalition and the Baton Rouge Metro Council members!
By a vote of 7-5, the council approved a measure on August 9, 2017 making bars and casinos 100% smokefree by June 1, 2018; the law also prohibits the use of electronic smoking devices in smokefree environments. The vote highlights a multi-year community effort that started in 2015 led by musicians and others who work in hospitality venues.
It is disappointing that the council delayed the implementation date until June. This means months of additional unnecessary exposure to secondhand smoke for workers and the public throughout the City of Baton Rouge and the East Baton Rouge Parish. Additionally, the casino association threatened to seek state level preemption to override the local law. ANR, a core partner in the campaign, will be helping support successful implementation for Baton Rouge.
Across the U.S, there are now more than 800 smokefree casinos and other gambling venues, most of them thanks to local and statewide smokefree workplace laws (that ANR helped support).
Local smokefree laws in cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans are in line with the growing broader trend in gaming communities for smokefree air in hospitality workplaces. Bar and casino service jobs don’t have to come with life-threatening exposure to secondhand smoke.
Casino companies have invested billions of dollars into smokefree gambling properties in the past five years alone and want these properties to succeed. By moving the smoke outside and away from entrances, casinos can be more attractive to the 85% of the U.S. adult population that doesn’t smoke.
Baton Rouge is the 13th city in Louisiana to pass a local smokefree ordinance. When the law goes into effect, the percent of the Louisiana population protected by a local smokefree workplace, restaurant, and bar law will increase from 18.4% to 28.1%.
In 2007, the Louisiana state legislature passed a law bringing smokefree air to all restaurants and non-hospitality workplaces in the state, but failed to extend the same protections to bar and casino workers due to political pressure from the tobacco industry and its allies. Ten years later, Baton Rouge’s hospitality workforce, musicians, and music fans alike will finally have the right to breathe smokefree air in the city’s bars and casinos.