Shreveport Council Votes to Allow Smoking in Casinos

SHREVEPORT, La. – On May 23, the Shreveport Council passed an amendment to once again allow smoking in casinos.

The Smoke-free Louisiana Campaign Coalition, an organization of anti-tobacco organizations, is sounding the alarm about the decision and warning that it could lead to similar changes around the state.

A spokesperson for the group said that Shreveport is ​​the first municipality in Louisiana, and the first in the U.S., to withdraw smoke-free workplace protections since Atlantic City rolled back rules under casino industry lobbying pressure in 2008.

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“Casino employees and patrons are in desperate need of these lifesaving health protections,” said Feamula Bradley, a manager at the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, in a press release. “Breaking their promise to their constituents and putting Shreveport’s casino workers back into smoke-filled work environments after nearly two years of workplace protections sends a loud and clear message that their health is irrelevant.”

Bradley said the council, and the casinos, are well aware of the dangers posed by secondhand smoke.

“They know it triggers heart attacks, asthma attacks, and contributes to respiratory illness and even lung cancer,” she said. “Yet, they are still willing to sacrifice their largely female and Black American workforce for a perceived competitive edge.”

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Shreveport’s comprehensive smoke-free ordinance went into effect in 2021. Anti-tobacco groups said that casino revenue has been largely unaffected since the ordinance went into effect.  

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