A proposal to ban smoking in all workplaces in the state of Louisiana has been withdrawn by its sponsor, Rep. Dustin Miller (D-Opelousas) after failing to get enough support from his legislative colleagues. In its place, the body unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 76, which calls for the formation of a study committee to evaluate Louisiana’s prevalence of tobacco-related illnesses resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.
Rep. Miller’s bill was seen as an overhaul to the Louisiana Smoke Free Air Act that removed exemptions that allowed for smoking in bars and casinos. Individuals would have still been allowed to smoke in the outdoor areas of bars, restaurants, casinos and other workplaces, though property owners and employers could restrict that, if they so chose.
The bill also removed the exemption that allowed for tobacco organizations such as the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) to use and smoke in convention facilities. The IPCPR last held its annual convention and trade show in New Orleans in 2015, with attendees allowed to smoke in the convention center by way of that exemption.
The study committee is to be made up of 22 members representing numerous health organizations as well as business representatives, government officials, public health experts and law enforcement. They are to first convene no later than Aug. 1, 2018, and have their final report delivered to the legislature no later than March 8, 2019.
An e-mails sent to Rep. Miller’s office was returned by an unnamed staffer, who confirmed that the bill has been tabled and replaced by the study.