Local bars prepare for newly passed smoking ban - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Local bars prepare for newly passed smoking ban

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Some New Orleans bars are putting plans into place to eliminate smoking at their establishments after the City Council passed a smoking ban. Some say they still have mixed feelings about the new law, which will begin being enforced in 90 days.

At the Bulldog Uptown, patrons walking in are typically greeted by a wave of cigarette smoke.

Manager Ura Seymer says, “It's the one hazard of the job I came to grips with a long time ago.”

With an outdoor patio just steps away, many still choose to light up inside the bar. But with last Thursday's City Council decision to ban smoking in casinos and bars, Bulldog employees will now have to start alerting customers to the change in policy.

“There's going to be a general discourse over a month or so I would imagine,” Seymer said.

Some fear businesses will lose money because of the ban. “It will probably affect our business a little at the beginning,” Seymer admitted.

Alex Fein, spokesman for the Freedom to Choose Coalition says, “All of our studies that we've seen show from other cities that have done bans across the country that there's an immediate short term loss of revenue.”

Fein estimates the loss to be about 20 percent.

But that wasn't the case at the Rusty Nail in the Warehouse District. Despite the fact that they believe 90 percent of their clientele smoke, the bar banned cigarettes a few years ago and bartender Benjamin Hubbell says, business didn't suffer one bit. If anything, it made people happier.

“It's nice having experienced both of those, not to go home and reek of smoke,” Hubbell said.

The bar still allows the use of electronic cigarettes, which, according to the ban, will also have to be done away with. And the new ordinance says people can't smoke within five feet of an establishment. It's something that Hubbell admits, may be difficult to monitor but because it's now law, will be enforced.

The City Council decided last week not to make the NOPD the agency in charge of enforcing the smoking ban. Instead, that will fall on the health department.

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