City council unanimously approves smoking ban, removes NOPD as enforcement agency

Kate Jamison, Senior Staff Reporter

On Jan. 22, the New Orleans city council voted unanimously to ban smoking from bars, clubs, casinos, and other locations in the city, effective 90 days after Mayor Landrieu signs the bill into law. 

The New Orleans Police Department has been removed as an enforcement agency due to an amendment from Councilman Jason Williams. This leaves enforcement up to other city agencies like the departments of health, code enforcement, recreation, parks, and safety and permits.

The Tulane campus-wide ban on tobacco products originally removed Tulane University Police Department as an enforcement agency, leaving the faculty and staff to report violators to the school. However, as of Jan. 1, TUPD has jurisdiction to issue tickets and fines to violators of the tobacco ban on campus. 

City council intends for the city smoking ban to be largely self-regulating, although anyone can call 311 to report that a bar is allowing someone to smoke or use a vape indoors.

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell decided not to pursue her amendment that would have given NOLA patrol, a civilian quality of life patrol group that operates in the French Quarter, the power to enforce the smoking ban. 

The new law doesn’t require bar and restaurant employees to force patrons to stop smoking or vaping, but owners and managers are required to do so. 

Although smoking inside a bar will no longer be allowed, patios, courtyards and balconies are still fair game for cigarettes and vapes. For a full list of smoke-free zones from the city council ban, see our breakdown below. 

 

So where can I smoke?

 

In a bar…no, beginning 90 days after Mayor Landrieu signs the ban into law. 

In a restaurant...no, smoking in restaurants has been banned since 2007.

In a casino…no, even if you’re at Harrah’s. 

In a courtyard, or on a patio or balcony…yes, the Palms and F&M’s patios are still fair game for tobacco products. 

In a park…yes, unless you’re downtown at Lafayette Square or Cancer Survivor’s Plaza. 

At a public event…yes, you can still smoke while watching a Mardi Gras parade.

In a private home…yes

In a private club…no

In a stadium or outdoor arena…no (side note: smoking in Yulman Stadium has never been allowed).