New Orleans passed a far-reaching smoking ban on Thursday that prohibits lighting up in bars, casinos, private clubs—even in the car while waiting in line at a drive-thru.
The ordinance, which goes into effect in 90 days, applies to bars, casinos, parks, private clubs, any business establishment, recreational areas, sports arenas, theaters, and a host of other places.
The ordinance was coauthored by Democratic council members LaToya Cantrell, a former “community organizer,” and Susan Guidry.
Public places include aquariums, laundromats, parking structures, trailer parks, condos, restaurants, shopping malls, outdoor stadiums and amphitheaters, libraries, theaters, lobbies, and more.
The ordinance applies to private clubs, private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes, places of employment, correctional facilities, school buses, and all schools and colleges.
The ordinance goes further to banning smoking in many outdoor areas, including construction sites. Outdoor recreational areas, including amusement parks, athletic fields, beaches, fairgrounds, gardens, golf courses, parks, plazas, skate parks, swimming pools, trails, and zoos, will also be affected.
Smoking will also be banned within 25 feet of parks and bus stops.
Violations are filed as a “public nuisance.” A second violation carries a $200 fine, and a third, if committed within the last year, can be as high as $500. Businesses can also have permits suspended if they allow smoking on their premises.
New Orleans residents will also no longer be able to smoke in their cars while waiting to use an ATM.
Smoking is now banned in “all outdoor service lines, including lines in which service is obtained by persons in vehicles, such as service that is provided by bank tellers, parking lot attendants, and toll takers.”
According to the ordinance, smoking is only allowed in private homes, private residences, and private vehicles, but even they have restrictions if they are used for childcare.
Smoking rooms in hotels will still be allowed, and in retail tobacco stores. However, tobacco retailers will not be allowed to sell products “within 300 feet of any park, church, public library, school, or any childcare facility.”
One smoker said the ban goes against what New Orleans is all about.
“It’s not New York, it’s not Seattle, it’s a party town,” said Elizabeth Stella. “A bar is not a health spa and alcohol is not a spa drink.”