The Southern cities like Atlanta, Nashville, Richmond, and much other lack comprehensive bans on smoking in public places while places like New York City and Chicago ban smoking in all restaurants, bars and workplaces.
New Orleans, a city known more for its partying, has taken a hard line on the issue and smoking not just in restaurants but also in casinos and bars.
AdvertisementAmerican Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation reported that over 50% of the U.S. population lives in a place where there isn't law guaranteeing smoke-free restaurants, bars and working environments.
"What you see happening in other states where the municipalities and county governments are passing stronger laws, you don't see that in Florida because the local governments are preempted," said Brenda Olsen, chief mission officer, American Lung Association of the Southeast.
Public health experts say that smoking policy changes begin at the local level and spread to other municipalities. For example in some cities like Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi, they have started the process of creating their own bans.