Shreveport City Council considers repeal of smoke-free protection for casino workers
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Smoking could be allowed again into Shreveport casinos; that’s if an ordinance, introduced on Tuesday by the city council, passes.
The Shreveport City Council gathered for a meeting to discuss whether or not patrons should be allowed to smoke in casinos. It was held on May 9 at the Shreveport Government Chambers of Government Plaza at 3 p.m.
Smoke-Free Louisiana Coalition, local elected officials, medical professionals and business owners were in attendance.
“The city council is focused on the economics of these casinos, but they’re not considering the health and wellness of the casino employees. The casinos are doing just fine. They passed that; they committed to that, and we thought that was a done deal. To hear that they’re bringing that back up is very distressing,” Health Martha, Regional Medical Director of the Office of Public Health, said.
On Aug. 1, 2021, Shreveport became the 30th municipality in Louisiana to pass and implement a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance protecting virtually all indoor workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Now, less than two years later, the Shreveport Council has presented an amendment to rewrite the ordinance to once again allow smoking in casinos, which would be the first municipality in Louisiana to withdraw smoke-free workplace protections.
Some people believe if the ordinance is passed, it will put casino workers’ health at risk.
“There is absolutely no safe amount of secondhand smoke, which means for the past year, they have been protected and then would come out from up under that protection, and then be subjected to the effects of second-hand smoke exposure,” Bradley, Region 7 manager of Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco, said.
The ordinance calls for at least 25% of gaming floors be dedicated to non-smoking. Things like restaurants and hotels would be excluded. Council members Tabatha Taylor and Gary Brooks sponsored the ordinance.
Councilman Grayson Boucher said he wants to leave it as is.
“I do think that our casinos are seeing a downturn. I can’t contribute that to not smoking. I am not for going backwards when the city of Shreveport went to Baton Rouge and received an award for this smoke-free ordinance. On the record, I will not be voting to amend this legislation to allow it. I think that where we’re at is where we need to stay,” he said.
The council is expected to vote on the ordinance at their meeting on May 23.
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