A City-Parish Council proposal to prohibit smoking in bars with live music has died before coming to a vote.
The council voted 5-4 in May against a ban on smoking in all bars, but a revised proposal was up for a vote on Sept. 1 to prohibit smoking in bars with live music while granting an exemption for bars that don’t have it.
One of the authors, Don Bertrand, said Friday that the measure has been pulled due to concerns raised by groups pushing for a comprehensive smoking ban.
“I’m disappointed. I thought we had a compromise,” Bertrand said.
Supporters of banning smoking in bars argue it is a critical health issue for the bartenders, musicians and wait staff who work in the haze of secondhand smoke.
Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living Regional Manager René Stansbury said the group does not support a compromise proposal that carves out exceptions.
“Unfortunately, it included an exemption that would have protected some but not all workers,” she said.
In comments last week, Councilman Jay Castille, who backed the initial ban, shared her uneasiness.
“If it’s good for one, it’s good for all,” he said.
Stansbury said she will keep pushing for an all-out ban.
“We look forward to working toward a comprehensive solution in the future,” she said.
Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who proposed in the initial smoking ban in May, said he has no plans to revisit the measure anytime soon.
“Just off of my projections, I would say no,” Boudreaux said. “I took my shot at it and wasn’t successful.”
The revised proposal would have banned smoking in bars with live entertainment but would have allowed a bar without live entertainment to register with the city as a smoking establishment.
The exemption would have applied only to existing bars, not new ones.
The revised smoking ban also would have added restrictions on smoking at playgrounds and public sporting events.
The debate over a smoking ban in Lafayette bars comes after city councils in New Orleans, Sulphur and Hammond approved similar smoking bans earlier this year.
A handful of other cities and parishes already had comprehensive smoking bans in place, including Monroe and Alexandria.