Smoking Ban Proposal Headed To Lafayette Council

LAFAYETTE, LA (AP) — The Lafayette City-Parish Council could decide before the summer whether to ban smoking in bars.

         Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux said Wednesday he plans to bring a proposed ban to the full council within 90 days.

         The councilman said he has no illusions of easy passage, considering the nine-member council is up for re-election this year and the issue is sure to bring out strong voices on both sides.

         "There is always the right time to do the right thing, and the time is now," Boudreaux said, brushing aside arguments that a ban was a strike at the rights of smokers and bar owners.

         "My position is, and will remain, that your rights end where mine begin."

         Boudreaux said last week that he was considering moving forward with the ban.

         The Advocate’s Richard Burgess reports Boudreaux began discussing the possibility of a smoking ban in 2012 and sponsored a series of public forums on the issue.

         His announcement comes a week after the New Orleans City Council voted to ban smoking in bars.

         Boudreaux said he had made up his mind to act several weeks before the New Orleans vote, prompted by concerns about the health of wait staff, bartenders, musicians and others who, even though they don't smoke, might be tied to a badly needed job in a smoky bar.

         "I think we have an obligation to protect others," he said.

         That message will not likely resonate with at least three council members.

         Councilmen Andy Naquin, Jared Bellard and William Theriot all said they oppose the ban, arguing that business owners should be allowed to set their own smoking policies and that patrons and workers can choose to stay away.

         The ordinance proposed by Boudreaux would apply to the city of Lafayette and unincorporated areas of the parish.

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