The New Iberia City Council discussed the possibility of a smoking ban in bars. Some issues raised by the public include second hand smoke and a possible loss of revenue.
Rene Stansbury with the Tobacco Free Health Care Project addressed the council and said the only way to prevent second hand smoke is to be 100% smoke-free. She says people who work in bars are exposed to 300 to 600 percent more second hand smoke.
Council Member David Merrill, who proposed the discussion of the ban says his main concern is the health of those people. “If you have..kids and you have to work in a bar to survive and you’ve got two jobs, you don’t have a choice in the matter (of second-hand smoke). These people hired you and you have a job.”
Barry Guillotte, who owns two bars in New Iberia says in his experience, only a small percent of bar workers do not smoke. “It’s just the nature of the beast. In my experience people who work in bars are typically smokers. I don’t know of any instances of anyone that worked for me that didn’t smoke.” Guillotte says if passed, the ban should be parish wide to minimize the loss of customers who smoke. “It’s not fair for the bars within city limits to have this ban placed on them and our customers just go to bars outside the city limits it kills our business basically. It sends them to other bars.”
The process won’t happen over night. Council member Merrill hopes to continue discussion of the ban with input from entertainers and bar owners.