A smoke-free Festival International is a good idea whose time has come.
When a blog ignites five times as many words in reader commentary as the blog itself, you know you’ve struck a nerve. But it was somewhat surprising that last week’s blog, “Festival International aims to become smoke free,” became, per capitals, the most talked-about item to appear on our Web site in a while.
The gist of the article, as the headline indicates, is that Festival International is asking smokers to refrain from lighting up during the event. As FIL Executive Director Dana Cañedo is quoted, “We encourage all of our festival goers to be smoke free, so that you and your family can enjoy the sights and sounds of Festival for years to come.” Encourage, not demand. But within minutes of the post, indignation flared.
“Long Live the Nanny State!” read one.
“Heart disease is a big killer in Louisiana as well. How about doing away with all things fried in the food vendor areas. Oh, and alcohol exacts a dear social price, too. Gonna prohibit that?” chimed another.
“Absurd. In an outdoor venue? Give us a break.”
And the most telling of all: “Maybe I’ll smoke a little less but I’ll probably smoke a little more just in spite ...”
Where the comments really veer toward the bizarre is in the conspiracy theory that The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living is abetting this nefarious plot to snuff the civil liberties of smokers. Indeed, TFL is quoted in the blog endorsing a smoke free festival, and it’s one of dozens of corporate sponsors of FIL. TFL is a statewide program funded by an excise tax levied on tobacco products. Its name pretty much gives away its mission, and who can argue that its goal isn’t laudable?
The group’s most prominent campaign right now is the “Let’s Be Totally Clear” series of public service announcement featuring bartenders, waitresses, casino workers and musicians including Lafayette’s David Egan — people who work in an employment sector in which they are legally exposed to carcinogens. Nearly 700 adults in Louisiana die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke, most of them no doubt the spouses of smokers but many others bar and casino workers.
I’m not unfamiliar with use of the foul-smelling, pollution-emitting carbon monoxide delivery system, yet I’m not averse to the concept of a smoke-free festival, especially if clove cigarettes go elsewhere. Emo kids are creepy and cliquish. Besides, smokers are accustomed by now to huddling together around dumpsters and back doors, averting their eyes from the fresh-breathed. Banishment to the margins is part of the deal — part of the allure of whittling time off the back end of one’s life.
Alcohol clearly has extended social consequences in drunk-driving related fatalities and the upheaval of families, as one of the comments above points out, and Louisiana’s high-fat diet definitely exacts a toll on our health. But they don’t compare to second-hand smoke. And in the close quarters of a Saturday night in late April in Parc International when music fans are squeezed together like, well, like cigarettes in a brand new pack, second-hand smoke as a public health issue moves outdoors.
The stigma of smoking or public policy or both will eventually extinguish lighting up in public places, but in the meantime, may the only smoking butts at Festival International be between our knees and our navels.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.