The Shreveport Council voted 5-2 to ban smoking in all bars and casinos in Shreveport.

This change goes into effect in 60 days. The only exceptions in the new law are for cigar bars and hookah lounges.

Council members heard from dozens of residents and advocates who pushed hard to get this measure passed. Smoking is already banned in casinos in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Currently, smoking is allowed in Bossier City casinos, but local leaders will be pressing for change on the east side of the river too.

Only Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor and Councilman James Green voted against the measure.

This change means the bars in Shreveport and the two casinos on Shreveport's riverfront, El Dorado and Sam's Town will no longer be allowed to have smoking inside the property. Guests would have to go outside to smoke.

Councilman Green raised concerns about whether or not the casinos have had a chance to voice their questions before the final vote before the council.

Ashley Hebert with the American Heart Association says black women are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular disease. She adds that many black women work in casinos in our community and breathing in second hand smoke is a serious health issue. She says telling these workers to just “get over it and get another job” isn’t realistic or fair and just should not even be an option.

Louisiana’s smoking rate is still higher than the national smoking rate of 15.5 percent. Twenty-five states have already implemented comprehensive smoke-free laws that cover workplaces, restaurants and bars.