Cantrell: NOLA Goes Smoke-Free
NEW ORLEANS – The following is a statement from District B New Orleans Council Member LaToya Cantrell:
Friends of District B,
On Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, the City Council unanimously voted for a smoke-free ordinance that would prohibit smoking in bars and casinos. This date marks a historical victory for the public health community and the city of New Orleans as we move towards a #smokefreeNOLA.
Since 1964, 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoke-free laws can reduce the risk of heart disease and lung cancer among nonsmokers. Not only will this newly passed smoke-free ordinance do wonders for the health of our fellow artists, musicians and service workers who’ve endured secondhand smoke in their jobs, but it will make strides in improving the overall health of our city’s residents.
There are several individuals and organizations that were fundamental to our success, including the Coalition for Tobacco Free Living; musicians like Paul Sanchez, Deacon John, Irvin Mayfield, and Jeremy Davenport; and casino and bar employees that spoke in favor or the ordinance on behalf of the service industry in which they work. I would also like to thank my colleagues on the City Council, whose input helped to shape the reality of a smoke-free city and a healthier work environment.
My biggest thanks go to the citizens of New Orleans.
Supporters of this ordinance are the backbone of our efforts, standing up for a voiceless community – individuals that work in the bars and casinos, and the friends and family of these workers – who don’t have the luxury of choosing where they can work, but are often forced to risk their health in order to feed their families. The discussions over a smoke-free New Orleans have culminated into a public health victory that we can be proud of.
All eyes are on the City of New Orleans, and now is the time to shed our nickname as “the City that Care Forgot.” With your continued support for a stronger, healthier New Orleans, I know that, together, we can ensure our city will be a more vibrant and sustainable place to live.
Council Member, District B