Health advocates laud passage of Baton Rouge smoking ban

Health advocates are hailing Baton Rouge’s new smoking ban as a “historic win” for the health of workers.

“I applaud the council for putting health first and making Baton Rouge safer for all to live, work and play,” says Coletta Barrett, mission leader of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, in a statement.

After rejecting a ban last year and discussing the matter for months this year, the Metro Council on Wednesday evening finally passed an ordinance to ban smoking at bars and casinos. In an effort to appease business owners concerned about dwindling sales and having enough time to build outdoor smoking areas, the council approved a proposal that gives bars and casinos until next June to eliminate indoor smoking at their establishments.

The city-parish’s lengthy permitting process was a driving force behind that argument, but the city has said it would have a third-party firm in place by this month to help speed up the backlog in permitting and plan review. Health groups had asked for a quicker implementation, citing health concerns.

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