Signs are spread throughout
downtown Baton Rouge clearly marking the boundaries for those who plan on
"If you're standing outside
building people walk right into it so I can understand," said Jerome Harris, a
Baton Rouge resident and smoker.
Harris has no problem with the
existing ordinance in East Baton Rouge Parish that prohibits smoking within 25
feet of parish buildings.
"It doesn't bother me because
I've stopped smoking for a year. You can understand when you stop smoking why
people have a problem with the smoke and second hand because it's more
noticeable when you don't smoke," added Harris.
At the Capitol, Representative
Harold Ritchie walked off 25 feet from the side of the building where he has
been smoking his cigarettes for 9 years. 25 feet would be the distance required
for smokers to be from state office buildings in the bill that Ritchie
voted for in the house.
"I think I have more experience
smoking than anyone in legislature and I realize health effects of it and it's
always been my side of the issue," said Ritchie.
"We had gone a little further
than that to begin with and it got to be a lot of issues including dome
facilities and campuses. so we just toned it back to this. it's a start but
it's something that will move forward as we go into the future," said
Representative Frank Hoffman, who authored the bill.
Harris and Ritchie say they have
come to expect smoking laws and while legislation continues to impose
restrictions they say smokers will continue to adjust.
"That's just part of it and thank
goodness there are only about 25 percent of us left - the 75 percent can tell us
what to do," said Ritchie.
The bill would not apply to any building built by local or parish governments, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or the New Orleans Arena.