Cigar Aficionado

Louisiana Closer to Banning Smoking in Casinos, Bars

Louisiana inched closer to prohibiting smoking inside casinos and bars after the state Senate voted 23-12 in favor of a proposed measure last Wednesday.

The bill ends the exemptions granted to casino and bars in the state's workplace smoking ban called the Smokefree Air Act, which was passed in 2007.

"There are times when we have to enact regulations to protect people," said Sen. Robert Marionneaux, D-Livonia, the bill's sponsor, as reported by The Associated Press.

During formal arguments in the Senate chamber, Sen. Dan Morrish, R-Jennings, proposed an amendment to the bill that called for the proposed ban to take effect only after the state's three Indian gaming casinos adopted smoke-free policies. Morrish argued this was needed to create a level playing field in the casino and gaming industry.

The amendment was voted down, though.

This year's International Premium Cigars and Pipe Retailers trade show is scheduled to take place at the Ernest N. Morial convention center in New Orleans for the second straight year. The bill proposal, if it passes, would not take effect until August 15, two days after the trade show ends.

A version of the smoking ban proposal is now in the House, which is expected to vote on it sometime later this week.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Cigar Insider.