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Metro Council to vote on smoking ban Wednesday

11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago April 13, 2016 Apr 13, 2016 Wednesday, April 13 2016 April 13, 2016 8:10 AM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Joe Hagan

BATON ROUGE- The Metro Council is set to discuss a proposal that would ban smoking in all business around the capital city.  

The idea was pitched by Smoke Free Baton Rouge, an anti-smoking campaign. It started out as a plan to ban smoking in bars and casinos around Baton Rouge, but before long the group suggested expanding that to all businesses in town.

Smoke Free Baton Rouge said the ban was proposed in an effort to protect people from second-hand smoke.

The ban would include cigarettes, E-cigarettes and cigars. New Orleans approved a smoking ban last year. Now, some council members are speaking out in favor of the ban, saying the city could benefit from stricter regulations on smoking.

Councilwoman Tara Wicker said she thinks the smoking ban would help the community, but she wants to make sure both sides get to make their argument.

"I think one of the most promising things is that those of us that are some open lines of communication between the casino industry and the smoke free advocates," said Wicker.

Not everyone is in favor of the smoking ban. Some local business owners worry it will hurt their income.

In an interview earlier this year, Mahoney's Bar Owner, Gary Brown, told WBRZ News 2 that he thinks it should be his choice whether or not people light up inside his place of business.

"It should be my choice as a business owner to make the profit the best way I know how," Brown told News 2.

A spokesperson for the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel and Casino also spoke out against the proposed ban.

"We believe in progressive change," said Tony Rodio, President and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment, the parent company of The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino. "However, we believe the detriments to our business and employees and the decline of state and local tax revenues that would result from such a ban exceed the potentially positive effects of such a ban, and urge the Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council to reject the proposal."

"It should be my choice as a business owner to make the profit the best way I know how," Brown told News 2.

The Metro Council will vote on the ban at their meeting Wednesday.

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