No Smoking Allowed In Harrah’s New Orleans

Harrah's New Orleans put out the no smoking signs at midnight, April 22, when the city's smoking ban began. Bars, hotels, workplaces, private clubs, stores and other public places are affected. Earlier Harrah's and other businesses filed a lawsuit to stop the ban, which a judge denied. However a hearing is set for May 21.

At midnight on April 22, Harrah’s New Orleans became smoke-free. Last January the city council unanimously approved the smoking ban and Mayor Mitch Landrieu quickly signed it into law. The ban affects the city’s 500-plus bars, as well as hotels, workplaces, private clubs and stores and other public places—including the downtown casino. Smoking previously had been banned in restaurants.

In a futile effort, on Friday, April 17, Harrah’s and dozens of other businesses filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the ordinance from taking effect. A state judge declined to stop the city from enforcing the ban, but scheduled a hearing for May 21.

City leaders said the smoking ban is a health measure and similar smoking laws in other cities have not hurt business profits in the long run. Business owners said the ban could cause revenues to drop by as much as 20 percent in the first year.

About 25 percent of adults smoke in Louisiana, according to federal data. At least 12 major U.S. cities allow smoking in public places, mostly bars, according to the American Lung Association, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, Las Vegas, Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas, Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Florida, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma.