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Ouachita Parish smoking ban effective

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News)- The long awaited parish wide smoking ban went into effect January 2, and it's already causing frustration among some bar owners and their patrons.

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living has worked very hard to see that this ban become a reality, even though everyone won't agree with the major change in bars and most restaurants.

"There are some people who are frustrated about it and again that goes toward change and some of our bar owners are concerned about their revenue and I understand that. I understand that this is their bottom line and that this is their business," Jennifer Hanline of Tobacco Free Living said.

In the City of Monroe there is a slight difference in the ordinance. Restaurants and Bars with open air patios can allow smoking around people eating and drinking food. In the rest of the parish smoking is prohibited on patios where food and drinks are served.

Those that are caught smoking will pay fines, as well as the bars. According to Jeff Ferracci of the J-Maxx sports bar in West Monroe, he's not trying to take that chance of being fined.

"Here would be a hundred dollars first offense. 250 for second offense and 500 for the third with a chance of losing your liquor license," Ferracci said.

So get use to seeing lots of smokers outside of the bars rather than in, because it's now the law they be outside.

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