Smoke free work and public places beneficial

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

During this month’s first city council meeting a representative with the Mississippi Tobacco Free Program urged city officials to consider banning smoking in all public places.

About five years ago, the city enacted laws prohibiting smoking in restaurants, which initially met with resistance from smokers.

This proposed change would establish similar limits on smoking in enclosed public places, such as city hall, and work places.

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The representative said more than 80 communities in the state have reached the goal of becoming 100 percent smoke free. Which means smoking is essentially banned everywhere but in a private car, home or outside.

We agree that it should be up to the individual to decide if they want to smoke or not, so it is up to businesses to provide designated smoking areas, preferably outside. As for work places, a designated smoking area also outside would provide a place for smokers to relax a bit.

To allow smoking inside an enclosed area poses second hand smoke risks to non-smokers.

Everyone by now has heard about the negative health effects associated with smoking and second hand smoke.

While there may be some resistance to this proposal, it should be short lived. There was an outcry from the smoking population when the ban against smoking in restaurants was proposed five years ago. The opposition swore they would never patronize those businesses again should they enact the ban.

However, those businesses are still open.

Providing our community with a smoke free work environment can only increase the overall health of the city.

If enacted, it will most likely not affect very many businesses, since most are already smoke free. But filling in gaps is a step towards ensuring everyone has clean air to breathe.