Every major city in the state of Louisiana has now passed legislation that prohibits smoking in bars and casinos. The lone exception to the rule is Lake Charles. On Tuesday city leaders in Shreveport passed its Comprehensive Smoke-Free Policy. That leaves just Lake Charles as the only larger metropolitan area where you can smoke 'em if you got 'em inside a bar or casino.

However, don't get too comfortable sitting with your ashtray next to your slot machine if you happen to be visiting one of the Lake Areas many fine gaming establishments. There are plans to at least explore the Smoke-Free option by many community-minded residents.

Civic leaders in Lake Charles say they are open to discuss the idea. But based on comments reported by KPLC Television there is an apparent appetite for legislation on a regional level versus creating a specified plan for just the city of Lake Charles.

Just to be clear, Lake Charles already abides by Louisiana's Smoke-Free Air Act but that act excludes two specific areas where smoking is still allowed. If you guessed those two areas are bars and casinos then you've been paying attention.

I have to admit, I am a non-smoker and I do not frequent businesses where smoking is still allowed. While I do understand that smokers have rights too the fact that the "air pollution" from the habit can't be controlled on a personal level has to be addressed.

While you might enjoy a cigarette your waiter or waitress might not. In fact, they might have breathing issues exacerbated by your habit. I guess it's a matter of where do your rights end and my rights begin and vice versa.

It's truly a slippery slope of who is right and whose rights need to be considered. I think in the end the politicians will eventually have to clear the air so to speak. It would certainly take away from the atmosphere of the "smokey old bar" made famous in many a country song but, at least we'd have the breath to be able to sing along.


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