HB 881, also known as the Louisiana smoke-free air act, will go before the House of Representatives Health and Welfare Committee for its first big step into Louisiana legislature Thursday.

Just last week, state officials launched a campaign to persuade legislators to say yes to a policy that would make all of Louisiana’s workplaces, including bars and casinos smoke-free.

On Thursday, April 9 at 9 a.m., numerous organizations and advocates will continue their quest to breathe cleaner air at the Louisiana State Capitol Building in Committee Room 5. 

Smoke-free supporters tell us they are pushing this act because although 78% of Louisiana’s population doesn’t smoke, there is no comprehensive, statewide policy that protects all Louisianans by eliminating smoking in all indoor workplaces and public spaces.

The 2006 Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act eliminated smoking in most public places, including restaurants, but not bars and gaming facilities.

Only 21.9 percent of the state’s population is protected from secondhand smoke.

As a result, more than 6,500 Louisianans die from smoking-related causes yearly and smoking drains the state of almost $1.85 billion in health care costs every year.  

Fourteen cities have already implemented local smoke-free ordinances to close this policy gap, including East Baton Rouge.