Plan would see city all smoke-free

Published 6:21 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen said Tuesday night that theywill mull a proposal by an area anti-smoking spokesperson to makethe city 100 percent smoke-free.

MS Tobacco Free Coalition of Copiah and Lincoln County ProgramDirector Lori Carter and Department of Health representative KimBrown came to the board meeting Tuesday night to discuss thepossibility with the board, which voted in 2008 to make the citypartially smoke-free.

“Everyone thinks we’re 100 percent smoke-free, but we’re onlypartial,” Carter said. “As a resident of Brookhaven, I think we’reinnovative, we’re a great community, and we always try to be onestep ahead, but on this we’re one step short of what we seeourselves as.”

Carter told the board that the current ordinance allows arestaurant to have a smoking section if there is a separateventilation system for it. However that, through time, that provesto be less effective.

When the ordinance was implemented, one local restaurant insidea truck stop was being built and had a special ventilation systemput in so that it could have a smoking section. Carter claimed theair in the smoking section and the non-smoking section in therestaurant now are quite similar.

Carter said that for the city to be 100 percent smoke-free,there can be no business or restaurant that is grandfathered orallowed a smoking section.

Currently, Carter said, half the states in the country havesmoke-free laws, and about 30 cities in Mississippi do as well.

“I just don’t want to see Mississippi be last again,” shesaid.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell, who was instrumental in gettingthe first anti-smoking ordinance passed, said it wouldn’t be hardto make the transition since there are only two sections that needto be changed to update it. He said that the restaurant that wasalready mentioned was the only one in town that could present anissue.

Ward Six Alderman David Phillips asked Carter if she had anysuggested wording for the changes she was proposing. She repliedthat she would be happy to come up with some if need be.

“If we change this now, we’re protecting our future,” she said.”I’d be so proud to see Brookhaven as one of the top 30 cities inMississippi.”

Board members said they’d take the matter under consideration,and that they’d keep Carter in the loop as far as any futuredecisions made on the issue.