Mississippi leads in smoke free ordinances

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mississippi might have the cleanest air in the country. Many cities statewide were honored this month after the state ranked first for the passing of comprehensive municipal smoke free air ordinances in 2014, according to a press release from the Mississippi State Department of Health.

The MSDH, smoke free Mississippi partners and the Mississippi Public Health Association paid tribute to many communities statewide for their efforts in promoting smoke free public environments.

It’s safe to say Mississippi is leading the charge to eradicate public smoking. Many cities across the state have adopted ordinances that ban smoking in closed public spaces and workplaces, according to the press release.

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Some could argue these ordinances are an infringement on their basic human rights, but studies have shown saying no to smoking could prevent people from developing tobacco-related health issues.

So far, 101 communities in Mississippi have passed smoke free air ordinances, according to the press release.

Last year, the city of Picayune became 100 percent smoke free. Previously, the city passed a smoking ordinance that only banned smoking in restaurants but now smoking is banned in closed public spaces and workplaces, according to previous Item coverage.

Not only could this smoke free movement make the world a healthier place, it could also save the state money. According to the press release, Mississippi spends $1.23 billion on healthcare costs associated with tobacco use.

While these ordinances are a step in the right direction, they’re stepping on the toes of smokers. A person should have the right to smoke if they want to but legal smoking areas are gradually diminishing so should also be protected.

When a person smokes in a public place they’re exposing others to secondhand smoke knowingly or not. In the end, the general public’s health comes first so if these ordinances strive towards that then they should be encouraged. For more information about the smoke free ordinances, visit www.healthyms.com/tobacco.