Opinions clash over proposed 'smoke free' ordinance

Opinions clash over proposed 'smoke free' ordinance

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A smoke-free ordinance proposes a smoking ban in bars and casinos in New Orleans.

Last week's hearing packed council chambers. A second discussion on the smoke-free ordinance is planned Wednesday evening. It's expected draw another large crowd.

Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell aims to ban smoking in nearly all bars and gaming establishments. The proposal also prohibits smoking within 5 feet of establishments. The ban would include electronic cigarettes.

Among those who crowded city hall last week to speak on the issue were some well-known local musicians who support the ordinance.

"We need the same type of healthy environment that every other professional needs to be to do their job, to be able to do it well," explained trumpeter and bandleader Irvin Mayfield

"Personally, I am sick and tired of witnessing our beloved musicians and artists suffering and dying from the detrimental effects of second-hand smoke," added Deacon John

However, some French Quarter business owners worry that a smoking ban would hinder business.

"A lot of the businesses in our group have already seen a 20 to 30 percent drop in revenue as a result of the increase in crime in the French Quarter," said Alex Fein, a member of the French Quarter Business League. "We feel that this extra burden of loss revenue at this time would be a little bit too much to take."

Wednesday's series starts at 5 p.m. Council is expected to vote January 22.

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