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Smoking ban good for progessive cities

Individual rights advocates remainresistant, but the tide toward smoke-free air in public buildingsand restaurants continues to grow.

    This week, Brookhaven aldermen signaled their intent to move towardHomeseekers Paradise becoming a smoke free community. The city hashad a partial smoking ban since 2008, but it allows smoking inbuildings under certain circumstances.

    What changes will be needed to the current law are not certain, buta panel of aldermen is exploring that. A report is expected at thenext aldermen meeting later this month.

    With the move to a 100 percent smoking ban, Brookhaven will join agrowing list of communities around the state that have enacted theprohibition. As of August, according to the Partnership for aHealthy Mississippi, 41 communities – encompassing almost 20percent of the state’s population – have no-smoking laws.

    Moving to join that list represents a progressive gesture forhealth benefits by the board of aldermen.

    Public sentiment appears to be on the side of smoke-freecommunities. The Partnership’s website cites a Mississippi StateUniversity study indicating that 70 percent of adults thinkrestaurants should be smoke free and 72 percent believe indoor workareas should be.

    There is also a financial incentive in that smoke-free communitiesare eligible for certain grants. Projects funded by those grantscould be used to benefit non-smokers as well as smokers.

            There remain some details tobe worked out, but Brookhaven aldermen are catching the wave forbetter citizen health and well-being.