Smoking ban extension in Abbeville has bar owners, patrons upset

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 20:24:30-04

Tuesday evening, in Abbeville, the city council voted in favor of extending a smoking ban to encompass bingo halls and bars across the city. 

The ban extension passed on a unanimous 4-0 vote. 

The city already has banned for smoking in enclosed spaces, but there are currently some exceptions. To read more on that click here

That decision Tuesday evening is leaving bar patrons and owners upset.

Cindy Quebedaux works at the beehive bar in Abbeville. and as of September first she’ll be forced to tell customers they can’t smoke here anymore.

"It’s not the United States of America anymore. You in a communist world. You gonna tell me what I can and can’t do in my own business?" Quebedeaux said.

The reason for Quebedeaux’s anger is a new resolution passed by the Abbeville city council on Tuesday banning smoking from bars and bingo halls in Abbeville.

"It all bottles down to a worker’s right to breathe clean air while they’re at work. This is something that you and I get to enjoy while we’re at work and this is about protecting all workers rights," said Rene Stansbury of LA Campaign for Tobacco Free Living

Workers like musicians who play in bars.

"Other fans, patrons of our culture who have been exposed to our venues that don’t have a smoking ban are shocked," explained musician Eric Adcock.

"For every half hour that a musician or hospitality worker has to work in a smoking environment, they themselves have smoked a cigarette," said Kathy Richard, Director Musicians for Smoke Free LA.

Quebedeaux says musicians like every customer has a choice.

"It’s a choice you have. It’s a choice to play in my bar where’s there’s smoke or a choice to go where there’s non-smoking," Quebedeaux said to the city council before the vote.

"What you did tonight was take my freedom away. You took my choice away. Who in the hell are you to take my freedom away?"

Folks who work here at the Beehive say 5 years ago they were making anywhere from $10,000 – $15,000 a month. Now they say that number is closer to $3,000. Workers worry that once the ban goes into effect on September 1, 2018, the majority of patrons who come into this bar to smoke while they drink will just go somewhere else.

The new ordinance will require establishments to have a designated smoking area outside, but for Quebedeaux, that’s not good enough.

"If it’s going to be a law then why shouldn’t the citizens of Abbeville get a chance to vote on it? You know, that’s what it should be. The citizens of Abbeville should have the right to vote," she explained.