A lawsuit filed by several bars against New Orleans’ recently passed smoking ban was tossed out of court by a judge this week.
A coalition of bars made a number of arguments on the technicalities of the law, mostly claiming that the law was “too vague” (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that argument before, I’m not sure how a smoking ban could possibly be “vague.” The whole concept of a smoking ban is pretty straightforward), but the judge ruled that their arguments had no merit.
Smoking bans almost always survive legal challenges — I’d say 95 percent to 99 percent of the time. No state smoking ban has ever been overturned, though multiple lawsuits were filed several years ago when a flurry of states passed smoking bans. Only in a handful of small towns and cities (Jackson, Wyo., comes to mind) have lawsuits been successful in overturning smoking bans. So, this struck me as being kind of a frivolous lawsuit.
I would suggest to these bar owners to give the ban a damn chance, it only went into effect April 22, about six weeks ago, before freaking out about it. Smoking bans in most other localities have had little or no effect on the economy. I would argue people are still going to vacation in New Orleans, especially since there’s varying level of smoking bans in about 31 states and most major cities in the country, so they’re used to it. Geez. I predict a year or two from now, most people will be used to it, the economy of New Orleans will be humming along just fine and some people will still be grumbling about it and claiming its cost them business (but they will have no proof of this).