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.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
Corporations spending in state elections; Kenny G and Hong Kong; states resist gay marriage and more national and international news for Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home
Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative