NEW ORLEANS -- In a matter of weeks, colleges and universities throughout the state will be smoke free. That's because a state law passed last year requires all public post-secondary institutions to do so.
But some campuses are taking it a step further, and soon the city of New Orleans could be cracking down on those lighting up.
It will soon be illegal for students to smoke any public college campus in Louisiana. As required by state law, the University of New Orleans will become a smoke-free campus starting Aug. 1, but UNO will go beyond the law by banning all tobacco.
"We're prohibiting smoking pipes, cigarettes, tobacco products, but also the use of oral tobacco products as well, so those won't be able to be used on campus," said University of New Orleans spokesman Adam Norris.
Students and staff can't say it took them by surprise. Signs warning about the impending tobacco ban are prominently posted.
So far, few smokers are fuming about the law.
“Relatively muted, I would say. I'm sure there are some people with strong feelings but I think there's also an awareness that UNO is not going it alone on this,” Norris said.
In fact, every public college and university in Louisiana must snuff out smoking by August, and your neighborhood bar may be next.
Nearly 100 bars in the city of New Orleans have voluntarily chosen to go smoke free.
"They're doing it on their own, and they are now partners in our initiative to make New Orleans a healthier city and a smoke free city," said New Orleans councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
Cantrell is sponsoring a smoke-free week starting next Monday but she says that's not enough. More than 1,100 municipalities in 39 states ban smoking in bars, hotels and restaurants.
Cantrell said New Orleans needs to follow suit.
"New Orleans, we're behind the eight ball," she said. "Other cities, they're doing it."
But can you do it in a city known for its laissez-faire attitude toward open containers and celebration? We may find out in the coming months when Cantrell plans to introduce ordinances to clear the city's air.
Until then, smokers are on notice.
"Now is the time and people want a healthier environment,” she said.
Cantrell said she plans to introduce smoke-free legislation by November.
While UNO will soon be tobacco free, e-cigarettes will be allowed on campus for now, but of course it won't be allowed inside any building.