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Smoking ban helped, hurt some restaurants

Publication Date: 1/28/2008
  • Author:Chad Ruiz
  • Publication:St. Tammany News

Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act has been in effect for a year

This time last year many local restaurant owners found themselves agonizing over the effects the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act would have on their businesses. Against popular belief, most fared well.

Spearheaded by the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act became effective Jan. 1, 2007, prohibiting smoking in most public places and workplaces, including all restaurants that serve food. With St. Tammany Parish boasting copious dining opportunities for citizens, this posed some concern for businesses with active bars like Buffalo Wild Wings and Southside Caf/. But after a year with the ban in place, the effects continue to be positive.

"Implementation of the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act has been extremely successful," Carrie Broussard, program manager for Policy and Advocacy for the TFL said. "We continue to get positive feedback."

A poll conducted soon after the law passed showed 81 percent of the registered voters in the region were in favor of removing smoking from public places, and it seems that statistic was mostly accurate concerning food establishments in St. Tammany...

According to the consensus, indoor air quality has also greatly improved.

"I know personally for me, I don't go home smelling like a cigarette anymore," Legrand said.

According to Broussard, the goal of the TFL is to provide Louisianans with healthier air.

"I think this is extremely positive for the state as far as the number of deaths we'll see from second hand smoke," she said.

She also said her organization is presently conducting a survey of the area to attain specific figures regarding the economic impact the new law has had on the dining industry.

Young feels the state is finally making positive progress toward the future.

"For once we're at the foot of the trend instead of chasing the trend," he said.