Mississippi cities are protecting more residents than ever from exposure to secondhand smoke thanks to the passage of more local smokefree air ordinances than any other state. The national, non-profit organization Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights recognized Mississippi cities and Mississippi Smokefree Air advocates as the 2010 First Place Winner of the Smokefree Indoor Air Challenge. This award is given to the state whose cities pass the most local smokefree air policies each year and it recognizes the leadership role that local governments play in protecting the public from exposure to secondhand smoke.
"The passage by the cities of these local smokefree air policies is a huge step toward protecting Mississippians from the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke," said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. "Seventy-eight percent of Mississippi voters support smokefree air policies, and more than ever now realize that creating smokefree environments is the only way to fully protect people against exposure to secondhand smoke."
Mississippi currently has 40 cities with comprehensive smokefree air ordinances in place. In 2010, 13 of the state's cities passed comprehensive smokefree ordinances. In 2009, 24 of Mississippi's cities had comprehensive smokefree air policies in place.
"Smokefree air is now the expectation throughout most of the U.S. Nationally, over 454 cities and counties have enacted strong local smokefree policies that include bars, restaurants and other workplaces," said Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. "We feel it's important to recognize the role and responsibility of local governments to continuing addressing this important public health issue. We congratulate Mississippi's cities for their leadership in protecting the public from exposure to secondhand smoke."
Smokefree Air Mississippi is an initiative of the Mississippi State Department of Health that works to limit exposure to secondhand smoke in all public places and workplaces.