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The New Albany Board of Aldermen plans to consider an ordinance to prohibit smoking in restaurants and public buildings.
Alderman Johnny Anderson has asked the city attorney to prepare a sample ordinance and the board has set a public hearing Nov. 1 to get citizen input.
Anderson suggested the city consider an ordinance like Tupelo’s, but possibly not as strict.
Most restaurants in New Albany already prohibit smoking, and we are confident the others, as well as their employees and the general public, would welcome a ban on smoking.
Mississippians overwhelmingly support smoke-free workplaces. Smokefree Air Mississippi, a collaborative effort led by the state Department of Health, reports that 80 percent of Mississippians don’t smoke.
Seventy-six percent of our citizens believe that all work sites should be smoke free and 81 percent believe restaurants should be smoke free. Even a majority of smokers – 57 percent – want smoke-free air in restaurants.
Forty cities in the state already have comprehensive smoke-free ordinances in place. Our local governments have taken the lead because our state legislature has knuckled under to casino interests and failed to pass a statewide plan.
We urge the Board of Aldermen to pass a strong ordinance that deals with restaurants, public buildings and all workplaces. Getting the problem solved all at once is better than a piecemeal ordinance.
The cost of dealing with tobacco-related health problems in our state is staggering.
Our citizens deserve smoke-free workplaces.