Anger Over Proposed Smoking Ban in La.

If the Louisiana legislature passes an anti-smoking bill, the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), Columbus, Ga., said it may boycott the state for its conventions. Its August convention would bring some 5,000 attendees to New Orleans.


“And we are just one convention,” Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR told the New Orleans publication City Business. “Scores of other conventions whose organizations are considering New Orleans and other cities in Louisiana will also likely opt to hold their meetings in more tobacco-friendly locales.”


The boycott could spell decreased sales for restaurants and bars, not to mention local convenience stores.


IPCPR represents more than 2,000 tobacco retailers and manufacturers of premium, hand-made cigars. The association is opposed to three bills currently being reviewed in the legislative session that began this week.


House Bill 75 would raise the 20 percent excise tax on non-cigarette products to 30 percent. House Bill 844 would ban smoking in any restaurant or bar, and Senate Bill 186 would prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars if food is served at any time.


“Increasing the taxes on a legal product in order to raise more money for state coffers and then banning its use in more locations will result in price increases and lower use of the product which means lower tax revenues for the state,” McCalla said. “Also, lower sales mean less business which means fewer jobs.”


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