OTHER OPINION: Pasacagoula broadens smoke-free edict

By Sun Herald, Biloxi-Gulfport

East Jackson County now anchors the Coast’s commitment to a smoke-free environment. In its last meeting, the outgoing Pascagoula City Council passed a comprehensive smoking ban that applies to all restaurants, bars, stores, motel/hotel lobbies, common areas of buildings and indoor workplaces. The ban does not, however, include outside venues such as sidewalks, patios and courtyards.
The ban will go into effect in a few weeks, and we encourage the incoming Pascagoula City Council to let it stand.
Seventy communities in Mississippi – including Moss Point – have comprehensive smoking bans in indoor places open to the public, according to Mississippi Tobacco Data, a workgroup that provides surveillance and evaluation services for the Mississippi Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program.
Partial smoke-free ordinances, which exempt bars, have passed in 12 other Mississippi communities, including Gulfport.
Moss Point went smoke free in June, the only Coast city to have done so thus far.
Ocean Springs is gathering input from residents on the issue.
Dr. Steve Demetropoulos, president of the Mississippi State Medical Association, said of the Pascagoula City Council vote last week: “Nothing makes me more proud, as a physician and as a resident of Pascagoula, than to have my own hometown support smoke-free air. Physicians across the state have championed this cause, and while the statewide effort has been stalled, Pascagoula’s healthy choice to go smoke-free is a testament to the hard work of all supporters from public health organizations to business groups. I want to also personally thank those elected officials who have joined doctors to promote smoke-free air.”