April 4, 2017 11:57 AM
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A poll released Tuesday by Healthier Air for All finds that nearly three-quarters of respondents favor a city-wide smoke-free policy that includes bars and bingo halls. Under the umbrella of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, Healthier Air for All commissioned the poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in early to mid-February. Five hundred registered voters in Lafayette were surveyed, of whom 73 percent support a smoke-free policy city-wide including in bars.

“Voters throughout Lafayette and across party lines strongly support extending the smoke-free policy to all workplaces,” says Tonia Moore, director for Tobacco-Free Living, in a release touting the poll. “Additionally, voters are more likely to go out to bars, bingo halls and other gaming facilities if the smoke-free law is extended.”

TFL and smoke-free advocates will likely get to test that claim: Tonight (Tuesday, April 4), the City=Parish Council will vote on an introductory ordinance that would extend to bars the current ban on smoking in most indoor places in Lafayette that already includes restaurants. The ban would include so-called e-cigarettes. It would exempt tobacco and e-cigarette shops, but otherwise smoking would be prohibited in virtually any other establishment, privately owned or publicly operated, that serves the public. The expanded smoke-free ordinance already has as co-sponsors five of the nine members of the council — the simple majority needed to move it to a vote for final adoption on April 18.

“A smoke-free Lafayette is a win-win for the state of Louisiana and our community,” adds Ashley Hebert, government relations director for the American Heart Association of Louisiana. “Cities like Lafayette lead the state with high numbers of hospitality workers and annual tourism rates. Smoke-free policies are a proven strategy to reduce tobacco use, and a key component of creating change is to lead by example. Local smoke-free ordinances protect public health by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and encourage smokers to quit.”