Proposal to ban smoking in some Lafayette bars snuffed out before coming to council vote as advocates push for broader ban on smoking in all bars _lowres

Advocate file photo by BRAD BOWIE -- A patron lights up at Caffe Cottage in Lafayette, where the City-Council is again considering a ban on smoking in bars.

The Lafayette City-Parish Council is set to reconsider a proposed ban on smoking in bars that was narrowly defeated two years ago, and the votes for passage appear to be lined up.

The council voted 5-4 in May 2015 against a prohibition on smoking in bars, with opponents questioning how far government should go in regulating private business.

But three of the councilmen who opposed the measure have since been replaced be new members.

The proposed ban filed with the council this week has five council members signing off as authors, enough to secure passage if they all follow through with a "yes" vote.

The issue is up for preliminary discussion on Tuesday and is set for final vote April 18.

"We just feel the time is now and Lafayette is ready to move in this direction," said Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who proposed the 2015 ordinance.

Boudreaux and Councilwoman Nanette Cook, who took office in 2016, have worked to revive the proposed ban.

"To me, clean air is a public health issue," Cook said. "We provide clean water in those businesses, and we should provide clean air."

Cook and Boudreaux are joined as authors on the proposed smoking ban by Pat Lewis, Kevin Naquin and Bruce Conque.

Lewis and Conque were elected after the 2015 vote, and Naquin supported the smoking ban the first time around.

A sixth councilmen, Jay Castille, did not sign on as an author but said he plans to support the proposed ban.

Whatever the final vote next month, it will clearly not be unanimous.

Jared Bellard, who opposed the ban in 2015, said he feels as he did two years ago.

"I still think the owners should decide. It's their business and their private property," he said. "If it was government property it would a different story."

Bars are the only major exception to state and local laws that already prohibit smoking in most businesses.

"Hopefully, now is the time to address this public health issue," said Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living Executive Director Tonia Moore. "... I think we will have huge support from the community there."

Twelve cities and parishes have already passed comprehensive smoke-free regulations that include bars, a list that includes New Orleans, Alexandria, Monroe and Hammond.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council had considered a ban on smoking in Baton Rouge’s casinos and bars but narrowly rejected the measure by a 6-6 vote.

Follow Richard Burgess on Twitter, @rbb100.​