New Orleans OKs smoking ban in bars and casinos

by Cain Burdeau, Associated Press

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In a move to protect the health of musicians and late-night workers, the New Orleans City Council has voted unanimously to ban smoking in bars and gambling halls.

New Orleans had been one of the last major American cities to allow people to smoke tobacco in bars. Smoking at indoor restaurants is no longer permitted. The new ban is expected to take effect in three months.

The ban was tweaked before being approved. For instance, New Orleans police won't have to enforce the ordinance and smoking will be allowed within 5 feet of bar entrances — not 25 feet away.

Thursday's vote was applauded by hundreds of people in support of the ban. A smaller group of opponents, including gambling and bar industry representatives, warned about a decline in revenues.