Tag Archives: smoking ban

Study: Indoor air pollution levels in New Orleans have dropped 96 percent because of smoking ban

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A predictable result, but still a stunning number when you think about it.

According to a study done by the Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., the level of small particulates pollution in New Orleans has dropped 96 percent since the city imposed a ban on smoking in bars and clubs in April

Ninety-six percent. Man. That’s a lot of crap people were breathing before. In casinos, traditionally the most smoky venues of all, the small particulates level dropped 99 percent. So, all that’s left is like a few dust motes.

From a Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids press release:

“We’ve heard from so many people in our bars, restaurants and casino who say they feel better and can breathe easier now without the stress of knowing they are in an unhealthy environment,” said New Orleans Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, the ordinance’s chief sponsor. “The air is definitely cleaner in New Orleans – and the city has made a very smooth transition to this improvement. This makes it clear that we did the right thing.”

“The smoke-free law has always been about protecting people’s health by creating healthier air for all to enjoy,” said Tonia Moore, associate director, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL). “This study demonstrates conclusively that the law is protecting the health of New Orleans hospitality workers, entertainers and patrons who were previously endangered by the harmful air pollutants in secondhand smoke. They and their families have to be thrilled that they have significantly reduced their exposure to the harmful health effects of secondhand smoke, including increased risks of cancer and heart disease.”

Now, the law was fought tooth and nail by a coalition of New Orleans restaurants, bars and casinos (including some restaurants that are already smokefree 😕 …. which is really curious to me.) The coalition filed suit against the law passed last year, but the lawsuit was dismissed. The businesses behind the lawsuit were concerned that the smoking ban would cost them customers and revenues.

Next, I would love to see the data on how the smoking ban is affecting tourism and business in New Orleans. It would probably be at least December until we could see some preliminary 6-month data on sales taxes, hotel taxes, etc., in the city.

This month is also the 10-year anniversary of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. I found a bunch of stories on how tourism in the city is thriving, even if some neighbourhoods have not been rebuilt (and may never be rebuilt).

Here’s a nice tidbit about the tourism business in New Orleans from the Times-Picayune:

From a tourism perspective, here are the facts from UNO’s Hospitality Research Center.  In 2006, the city hosted 3.72 million visitors (a 74 percent decline) who spent $2.89 billion, a 42 percent decline from pre-disaster numbers. In 2014, visitors numbered 9.52 million and their spending was $6.81 billion.

So, in short, the number of tourists visiting New Orleans and the amount of money they spend has more than doubled since the year after Katrina. I mean, compared to where New Orleans was in 2006, businesses are worried about some kind of perceived hit from a smoking ban? Please. I mean, in 2005, it looked like the city would never recover. Be thrilled with how New Orleans is doing. Don’t be freaked out by a little thing like a smoking ban … that’s a pretty trivial challenge compared to Katrina.

 

Austria to ban smoking in cafes and restaurants

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The hills are alive …. with smokefree air…

 

You don’t hear much about smoking bans anymore. Pretty much everywhere that’s going to pass smoking bans has already done it by now.

Austria has apparently been lagging behind the rest of Western Europe. However, it will soon become the latest country to ban smoking in cafes and restaurants.

Austria joins Spain, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, all of Scandinavia, Hungary, France, the Netherlands and all of the Baltic states in having a nationwide indoor smoking ban. Most of the European countries that don’t have smoking bans are in Eastern Europe, where smoking rates are incredibly high.

The Austrian Chamber of Commerce announced it plans to appeal the ban, which won’t go into effect until 2018. Cafe owners who implement the ban in 2016 will receive compensation from the Austrian government to make up for possible losses in revenues.

A far-right party called the Freedom Party, said it would get rid of the law if it wins parliamentary elections. (Nothing sends a chill down the spine quite like “far right” and “Austria” in the same sentence.)

 

Casper smoking ban battle — petition drive fails after hundreds of signatures thrown out

Casper, Wyoming a few months ago implemented a smoking ban for all restaurants and bars.

Well, after only a few weeks, bar owners went to the city council and whined about the effect of the ban on their business and the city council, which had a couple of new members from when the ordinance was first approved, overturned the ban for bars .. again after a FEW WEEKS.

Well, a local group was not pleased with the city council caving and turned in a bunch of signatures to put the whole thing to referendum. Their petition fell 61 signatures short of being enough to put it on the ballot … BUT the city clerk rejected 685 signatures … out of about 3,200, making them fall short.

The group — Smokefree Natrona County — is now demanding a recount of those signatures. Sigh, this never seems to be easy (how do you throw out more than 20 percent of the signatures on the petition, anyway?)

Anyway, the city clerk is not required to do a recount, so the bar smoking ban in Casper might be dead for now (not sure what would stop them from doing another petition drive?).

 

Smoking ban relaxed in Casper

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Here’s something you don’t see very often. A town actually remove or relax a smoking ban.

Late last month, Casper, Wyo., removed its smoking ban on bars because some bar owners complained to the city that the ban was hurting their business (the ban is still in place in restaurants.).

Smokefree advocates are now collecting signatures for a voter referendum to restore the smoking ban. Not sure how such a referendum would do in such a Libertarian/conservative state like Wyoming, but it would be interesting to see.

Wyoming has no statewide smoking ban and likely will NEVER have a statewide smoking ban as it is one of the most anti-regulation, conservative states in the nation. I know Cheyenne and Laramie have smoking bans, and Jackson, Wyo., attempted to implement a smoking ban, but that ban was tossed by a Wyoming court because the wrong agency implemented it (a county health board). Casper is the second-biggest city in Wyoming next to Cheyenne.

Interesting, bar owners claimed the ban hurt their business, but according to this Casper article from April, there didn’t seem to be any effect in the bars. I’ve always thought some bar owners exaggerate some these claims, but of course, without looking at their books, who knows? At the very least, with the ban in place for only two or three months, business owners and more importantly, the city council, did not give the ban a legitimate chance.

I’ve seen this happen before. It only takes a handful of “squeaky wheels” to get a small town government council to respond (I’ve seen three or four loud parents talk school boards into sneaking intelligent design into their curricula, etc.). Again, I’m not that dogmatic about bar smoking bans, but I hate to see a small town council NOT give their new regulations a chance to succeed, and I hate to see a small town council cave to a small  and likely loud group of complainers.

Interestingly, they held a referendum to get rid of a smoking ban in Springfield, Mo., and Missouri is a pretty conservative, anti-regulatory state … the referendum failed with the pro-ban side getting 64 percent of the vote.

I wish the petitioners luck and I’ll be keeping an eye on if it succeeds.