County on the verge of being “smoke free”
On Tuesday, June 28, during the Mississippi Municipal League Conference, the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) and Smokefree Mississppi were recognized as first in the nation for passing the most smoke-free air ordinances. The OTC and Smokefree Mississippi also recognized the 18 Mississippi cities that recently passed smoke-free air ordinances.
According to Rochelle Culp, project director for Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Madison, Yazoo and Holmes Counties, towns inside Holmes County that have comprehensive smokefree air ordinances are Durant, Lexington, Pickens, Tchula and Cruger.
“Cruger, Pickens and Lexington were recognized as one of the 18 Mississippi cities that recently passed smoke-free air ordinances in the last year,” said Culp.
Smokefree Mississippi partners collaborate with the directors and local community volunteers of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalitions to target cities which have not implemented an ordinance as part of a grassroots movement. The MTFC directors and volunteers work to educate all Mississippians on the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The coalitions are funded by a grant from the Mississippi State Department of Health.
“The smoke-free air policies implemented by 18 Mississippi cities in 2015 will protect all employees and customers in businesses and other public places from the harmful effects of breathing secondhand smoke. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke,” said Amy Winter, director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “Mississippians overwhelmingly support the idea of smoke-free environments. There is no downside to implementing comprehensive smoke-free air policies.”
West and Goodman are the two municipalities in Holmes County which have non-comprehensive smoke free ordinances.
“If West and Goodman would join the other cities in adopting a comprehensive smoke free ordinance,” said Culp, “Holmes County would join Madison County and become the 2nd county in Mississippi with all municipalities covered by a smoke free policy.”
The Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalitions provide information on the effects of tobacco use and the benefits of being tobacco-free, as well as tobacco cessation information. The coalitions seek to limit exposure to secondhand smoke in all public places and workplaces. For more information on how to help your city pass a smoke-free ordinance and the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke, visit www.HealthyMS.com/tobacco.