Today is implementation day for Shreveport, Louisiana’s smokefree ordinance! We are thankful that all bar and casino workers will now be able to breathe smokefree air at work. I thought our supporters might like to hear some detail about our tough fight to make smokefree air a reality in Shreveport. I’ve got lots of stories to tell, so stay tuned. If you’re an ANR/F member or donor, you can read my full account in our Fall UPDATE coming in September.
“Can’t stop, won’t stop” has been my mantra the last several years. Although it serves as a general principal for life, it is especially fitting for the work we are doing in Southern states, and in particular Shreveport, Louisiana. Along with our Louisiana consultants Raegan Carter and Randy Hayden, the work in Louisiana forges ahead.
WHY WE KEEP AT IT: CHANGE MAKING
The persistence of local partners to keep the urgent need for smokefree environments on the radar in Louisiana was finally enough to motivate a local council member to strengthen smokefree protections in Shreveport.While having a smokefree policy champion in a Southern city was a significant accomplishment, his proposed ordinance would have maintained the special exemption for casinos, leaving thousands of gaming and hospitality workers exposed to secondhand smoke.
Coalition partners worked to get casinos written into his ordinance and then had to fight to get council support with just a few weeks before the final vote.Our campaign in Shreveport quickly gained national attention as the casino industry was put on high alert about yet another local effort to include casinos in a smokefree policy. Louisiana had already proven that local government had the will to put people first with big wins in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, but the industry really uses doom and gloom scare tactics to undermine public health progress.