Apr 9, 2012 7:09 PM by Maddie Garrett

Councilman to Hold Public Forum on Smoke-Free Bars

A program to recognize Lafayette bars for becoming smoke-free didn't get much recognition itself. With no bars voluntarily agreeing to make the transition, the question is being raised: should smoking in bars be a choice or not?

"I was hoping that the industry would quote unquote fix itself and that is not happening for whatever reason. However, we do have some bars in Lafayette that are smoke free voluntarily and that is what I was encouraging," said Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux.

Boudreaux is starting a conversation between bar owners, the council and the public. Since his recognition program didn't get any response he'll hold public meetings.

"I don't know if this is a question of law, or if this is a question of choice. Some will say you can choose to go to any bar you so desire, some will say you need the law to dictate that you can't smoke at a bar. So it's a very sensitive issue, it affects a lot of people," he explained.

Boudreaux said recognizes there's a lot at stake here. The council is wary of passing smoking bans and bar owners are afraid of losing business.

Jefferson Street Pub owner Gus Rezende said even though most of Jefferson Street Pub is smoke free, he appreciates having that choice.

"I like having the choice, I think it has helped us," he said.

Rezende is like many owners, who believe smoking inside should be up to the bars.

"At the end of the day we're all business owners and we're trying to make sure that the decisions we make make sense for the business itself but also makes sense for the community," said Rezende.

And the public can get involved in the smoke-free discussion. Boudreaux's public forums will be next month in May.



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