New Orleans Enacts Public Smoking Ban
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New Orleans may have a reptuation for vice, but one vice that will no longer be on that list is smoking, as a ban went into effect Wednesday morning on cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products.
According to Kelsey Davis of WDSU.com, the law took effect at 12:01 a.m. local time Wednesday morning and effectively eliminates smoking in most bars, restaurants, casinos and fairgrounds across the city.
The penalty for being caught smoking in a banned location is a $50 fine.
While the response to the ban has been overwhelmingly positive, establishments like Harrah’s casino and several French Quarter restaurants tried to block the law due to the possibility of a negative impact on the business, but failed to stop the change from taking effect.
In a report from WAPT.com, a state judge will hear the appeals of Harrah’s and the other establishments in a month.
Local worker Hannah Bourque told WDSU.com about how the change has impacted people in the service industry and the customers already:
“I think overall it's going to be a good thing. People will be able to breathe fresh air, and it'll be a good thing overall. But, hopefully it doesn't hurt business. Some people were mad about it, some people that came in and were like, 'Oh can you smoke?' I and said no you can't smoke. They got mad, but it's the new law so it's going to be like that everywhere.”
As one of the few caveats to the new rule, cigar and hookah bars established before Dec. 31, 2014 will not be penalized for public smoking indoors. Smoking may be banned at outdoor sporting arenas and stadiums, but it is also still permitted during concerts, festivals and parades.
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