Is Shreveport/Bossier Next In Line To Ban Smoking?
It's been 10 years since the law banning smoking in the state of Louisiana went into effect. Smoking in our state is banned in all schools, workplaces, and public places, including restaurants. There are myriad exceptions, of course. Smoking is permitted in bar/restaurants where the majority of sales are derived from alcohol sales, casino gaming floors, and correctional facilities i.e. prison. And you can still smoke in the privacy of your own home.
Tomorrow it will be illegal to smoke in any bar in Lafayette. That now makes 15 cities and parishes in Louisiana that have enacted laws banning smoking in all bars: Abbeville, Alexandria, Bogalusa, Cheneyville, Glenmora, Hammond, Lafayette, Monroe, New Orleans, Lafayette Parish, Monroe, New Orleans, Ouachita Parish, West Monroe, and Woodworth.
Baton Rouge and Shreveport, the 2nd and 3rd largest cities in the state respectively, are conspicuously absent from this list. In Baton Rouge you can thank LSU which relies on an active bar scene to entertain students. In Shreveport/Bossier you can thank the casinos.
Though it could certainly still happen, it would be difficult to justify banning smoking in SBC bars without banning it in casinos, as well. Bar owners would raise a ruckus if they couldn't allow smoking while casinos could, and there's just no way either city wants to jeopardize the amount of tourist revenue that the casinos pump into their economies.
But, stranger things have happened. Which begs the question: If smoking were banned in our casinos, would smokers seek entertainment elsewhere?