New Orleans Passes Smoking Ban

After months of debate, New Orleans, a city famous for its party scene and the site of this year's International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers trade show, has passed a comprehensive smoking ban.

The New Orleans City Council unanimously voted 7-0 yesterday to prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces such as bars and casinos, hotel rooms, private clubs, correctional facilities and school grounds.

The ban, which was originally introduced by councilwoman LaToya Cantrell in August 2014, exempts cigar bars by grandfathering them in as long as they can prove they began operating before January 8, 2015. Additionally, a cigar bar must show that 10 percent of its total gross income stems from on-site tobacco sales and humidor rentals. Also, cigarettes are not to be smoked on the premises, and a cigar bar can't knowingly permit entrance to people under 21.

Patios, balconies and outdoor areas connected to either a bar, casino or restaurant will also be exempt from the smoking ban. Smoking will still be permitted on the city's famous Bourbon Street as well as in convention centers during tobacco-related events such as this summer's IPCPR trade show.

First-time violators of the ban will be fined $50, with that amount increasing with each offense in a 12-month period. The New Orleans Police Department was originally tasked to enforce the ban, but after deliberation before yesterday's vote, it was decided that responsibility will now fall under the city's health, parks, recreation, code enforcement and permitting departments. Individuals will also be able to police each other, as someone who wants to complain about a bar allowing smoking can call 311.

The ban will go into effect 90 days after Mayor Mitch Landrieu signs the final bill.

"Well if relations become more normal to where the U.S. will allow the La Casa Del Habano store to be franchised here New Orleans is kinda screwed if the smoking ban goes into play and isn't repealed etc..." —March 31, 2015 20:01 PM
"Smoking bans have killed the pub business in England. " —February 24, 2015 16:22 PM
"Senseless legislation like this only shows how little governments think of the governed. They believe the citizens are too stupid to make their own decisions and try to make those decisions for us. I understand there is some need to prohibit smoking in public libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. but an all out ban on privately owned establishments such as restaurants and stores is an insult to the owners. Further insulting is the places that ban smoking in a home or vehicle that has a note on it; just in case you default on your payments and they have to repossess it, and they can't sell it if it smells like smoke." —January 29, 2015 20:14 PM
"Tom Walje, I have been saying that since they started banning cigarettes. It should be left up to the owner and a sign placed out front say, smoking or non smoking so that each person can decide if tey want to go in or not." —January 27, 2015 17:08 PM
"we back to the prohibition era! I thought the world was suppose to move on not back! Whatever! " —January 27, 2015 13:38 PM
"Can the mayor veto or modify the bill? Or just refuse to sign it? Or eliminate the enforcement provisions? Let's hope so! I don't mind sitting outside to enjoy my cigar; if fact, I prefer it. I just don't want someone telling me I must do so!" —January 27, 2015 12:07 PM
"My sentiments exactly Tom." —January 25, 2015 19:12 PM
"You know what would be a RADICAL concept? To allow those that own their individual establishments to decide if (cigar) smoking would be allowed in their places of business. Then I COULD DECIDE if I was going to frequent that certain business. " —January 24, 2015 10:50 AM