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Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- A bar patron smokes while enjoying a beer, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 at Phil Brady's Bar & Grill on Government Street in Baton Rouge.

A movement to ban smoking in Baton Rouge’s casinos and bars has gained favor with the city-parish’s healthcare community.

The hospital leaders who have pledged their support for an upcoming ordinance to ban smoking in casinos and bars are from Our Lady of the Lake, Lane Regional Medical Center, Woman’s Hospital, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Ochsner Health System and Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

“We see the devastating effects of second hand smoke on our citizens every day,” reads a news release signed by the six hospital heads. “We share in the heartache, the suffering and the expense of treating the illnesses directly related to smoking.”

The smoke-free campaign has been underway since the end of January, when a coalition of doctors, public health officials, musicians and others launched a smoke-free Baton Rouge initiative.

Councilwomen Tara Wicker and Chauna Banks-Daniel said they plan to bring an ordinance to the Metro Council to ban smoking in all workplaces once the campaign raises more awareness.

On Thursday night, advocates of Smoke Free Baton Rouge pushed their position at a north Baton Rouge town hall meeting.

“It’s just so harmful…you don’t know the effects, when you start feeling the effects you can’t get another job,” said former casino worker Tiawan Thompson.

Baton Rouge’s casino managers have said they will not respond to the smoke-free campaign until an official ordinance is brought to the Metro Council.


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