Special to the Clarion-Ledger
Mississippi ranks first when it comes to passing comprehensive municipal smoke-free air ordinances in 2014. Americans for Nonsmokers Rights designated
Mississippi as the 2014 first place winner of the Smoke-free Challenge national award.
On Tuesday, the 14 Mississippi cities that passed comprehensive smoke-free ordinances in 2014 were honored by the Mississippi State Department of Health
(MSDH), the Mississippi Public Health Association and Smoke-free Mississippi partners. “The smokefree air policies implemented by these cities will
protect all employees and customers in businesses and other public places from the harmful effects of breathing secondhand smoke,” said Roy Hart, director
of the Office of Tobacco Control at MSDH. “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalitions, Smoke-free Mississippi partners and individuals from local communities were instrumental in the passing of these ordinances.
Through their efforts, 101 Mississippi communities have passed smoke-free air ordinances of which 51 communities have included regulations for e-cigarettes
to protect the health of their citizens. The Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalitions are funded by a grant from MSDH.
Annually, Mississippi spends $1.23 billion on healthcare costs associated with tobacco use. The goal of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalitions is to improve
the health of all Mississippians through sharing important data and educating local communities on tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
To learn more about the Tobacco-Free Coalitions visit, http://www.tobaccofreems.org. For more information on
smoke-free air ordinances and tobacco prevention programs, call the MSDH Office of Tobacco Control at 601-991-6050 or visitwww.healthyms.com/tobacco.
This article first appeared on the The Clarion Ledger website on June 24, 2015.