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Anti-Smoking Advocates Renew Call For Comprehensive Smoking Ban

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Feb 2011 02:16pm | comments
Health advocates rally in Jackson.

Anti-smoking advocates have returned to the Capital to call on legislator to pass a comprehensive ban.

MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that advocates are disappointed with a smoking ban recently approved by a Senate committee.

A small group of doctors and public health advocates returned to Jackson on Monday to take aim at the Senate version of a smoking ban and call for broader rules preventing smoking in all indoor public places.

Stella Collins attended the rally with her oxygen bottle in tow. She never smoked but says second hand smoke contributed to her lung failure and eventual open lung surgery.

"So we are here today on behalf of ourselves and many others who are struggling with breathing. And all around us today, we need smoke free air. And it would be better for us and our young ones that are coming up because it is very difficult not being able to breath," Collins said.

Health policy advocates say only a comprehensive smoking ban will be enough to protect all Mississippi workers from second hand smoke and point to polls showing three-quarters of all Mississippians supporting a ban.

Senator Terry Burton of Newton sits on the Senate Public Health Committee. He says the bill they passed is a step in the right direction and probably the best the activists can hope to get.

"I do have some concerns about private property rights and the state going to far in telling an individual what can occur and what cannot occur in his piece of property or building," Burton said.

Representative John Mayo of Clarksdale is on the house Public Health Committee. He says an expanded ban is an essential step to protect public health.

"The best way to reduce that is a state wide ban on smoking in all enclosed places. You can smoke in your home. You can go to the park and smoke. You can smoke in your car. If you want to kill your own kids, put them in the car, roll up the windows and puff away. Don't kill my kids," Mayo said.

A bill banning smoking in all indoor public places across the state died in the house public health committee, so it is up to the Senate to pass some version of their bill before the house can do anything to it.

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Health advocates rally in Jackson.


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