Few are commenting on Pascagoula's proposed smoking ban

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Few people turned out Thursday night for a public hearing on a proposed smoking ban in Pascagoula.

The city council is considering a smoke free ordinance that could affect restaurants, bars and public working places. But city leaders say they need more input before a final decision is made.

Pascagoula's Community Development Director Jen Dearman was surprised by Thursday night's poor turnout.

"There is frustration in trying to ask the community for what they want and not hearing a response," Dearman said.

She said another reason why citizens' voices need to be heard on the issue is if there's a smoke ordinance created, it could be a full or partial ban.

"All indoor facilities or only restaurants, rather than the bars, that sort of thing. When we don't hear a response, we do what is best for the community and that is not always inline with what the community wants," Dearman said.

But the folks who did show up Thursday had strong opinions.

"My husband smoked, so I had secondhand smoke all my life, and my husband died. Now  when I am around smoke, I get a headache," resident Sarah Boykin said.

Kevin Wilson told the city he doesn't think electronic cigarettes should be part of the ban.

"This is a smoke free ban. There is no smoke in electronic cigarettes. Even though there is a vapor that looks like smoke, there is no actual smoke, no tobacco," said Wilson.

Woody Gibbs was the last to speak about smoking.

"It will make you sick and it will kill you," said Gibbs.

He feels Pascagoula's elected leaders need to just make a decision.

"The mayor and council knows what is proper and correct without having to have a hundred people hooraying for it. It is on their shoulders. And if they don't do it, shame on them," Gibbs said.

The city will be taking comments from the public until April 26th. You can call the Community and Economic Development Department at (228) 938-6639 with your thoughts on the proposal.

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