Fenton goes smoke-free

Stacey Fontenot
Friday, May 17, 2019
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FENTON - The village will soon prohibit smoking in all public workplaces.

Mayor Eddie B. Alfred, Jr. and alderwomen voted unanimously to pass the ordinance, which will stop anyone from smoking in or near the entrances to any public buildings and workplaces.

“We already have some things in place here at the village hall,” said Alfred. “We support the health of our community. I want to protect our citizens and make the community aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke.”

The village has voted for the ordinance to take effect on July 1 in order to give businesses and other public entities time to post signage and make people aware.

Smoking of any nature, including vaping, will not be allowed anywhere within 20 feet of any entrances.

The penalty for violating the ordinance will be a maximum fine of $500.

Part of the ordinance also listed public places such as municipal playgrounds that would be affected as well.

“Smoking is already prohibited in our park due to the fact that it is a fire hazard,” said Fenton Police Sargent Vernon O’Quinn. “That has been in effect and will always be in effect.”

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) has a mission of educating people about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

“Thirty minutes of a person being in a room with secondhand smoke is equivalent to actually smoking a cigarette yourself,” said TFL Regional Manager Janice Ackley. “Middle school and high school students are being exposed to cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and vaping at a rate that is rising faster than ever.”

Ackley said that by prohibiting smoking in workplaces, people will see an immediate change in smoking rates.

“If the person has to go outside to smoke and it happens to be raining, they will think twice about going out for that cigarette,” said Ackley.

She said the ordinance will protect nonsmokers from the dangerous effects of not only secondhand smoke, but what she calls thirdhand smoke, as well.

“Thirdhand smoke is the chemicals that are left behind on surfaces when people smoke inside,” she explained.

Now that the ordinance has passed, Ackley said she would return to the Village to enact an implementation plan including education and recommendations to suit the Village if needed.

“Fenton’s decision to go smoke-free shows that small towns can make a big difference in the lives of their residents by supporting healthier air for everyone,” said Ackley. “For more information on the growing movement to protect all Louisiana employees from secondhand smoke, visit www.HealthierAirForAll.org or contact me at (337) 794-1404.”