As a musician based in New York City who appears several times a year in New Orleans, I am encouraged by all of the attention that smoke-free bars have been getting. As a longtime music professional, I know firsthand what a difference it can make for me to get to go to work every day in an environment with smoke-free air.
Without a doubt, smoke-free air policies are good for health and great for business.
This can easily be seen by the number of new establishments going smoke-free every day throughout Louisiana, and I can attest to the successes throughout the Northeast in states that have chosen to go smoke-free.
The legendary Bottom Line in New York City, where Springsteen made his debut years ago, was the first to go smoke-free, years before any of the other restaurants were required by law to do so.
When New York City restaurants finally went smoke-free, there was some fear that they were going to lose business and suffer from a loss in revenue.
That did not happen and, in some cases, restaurant owners and staff found that they actually made more money.
Similarly, smoke-free bars in New York City did not suffer. I would assume the same would hold true for Louisiana.
All those people who stayed away because of the smoke can start coming out again.
I am much happier and healthier working in a workplace where I do not have to put my health on the line nightly for a paycheck. I hope Louisiana will follow so many other states and enact smoke-free legislation.
Unfortunately, there are still so many service industry employees and musicians, both in Louisiana bars and gaming facilities, who have to go to work in smoke-filled environments.
If all restaurants can go smoke-free successfully, so can bars and gaming facilities. Now is the time to extend the same protection of smoke-free air at work every day to everyone, with no exceptions. It is good for health and good for business.
The Saturday Night Live Band