HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Complaints about cigarette smoke at youth baseball games prompted Harrison County supervisors to take action. The board is now considering a no smoking ordinance that applies to nearly all county-owned facilities, including ballparks.
Complaints about people lighting up in the bleachers at ball games is what prompted Harrison County supervisors to look at this smoking ordinance.
Smoking has long been prohibited inside county buildings, such as the two courthouses, but this would expand that policy to include all county owned facilities, even outdoor ones like ballparks and the Harrison County Fairgrounds.
"Absolutely, it's a health issue. Secondhand smoke has been proven to be somewhat deleterious to your health. We were getting complaints from various constituents that were at the ball fields, yes. It's very inconvenient to try to enjoy a ball game and have someone having cigarette smoke in your face," said Supervisor Marlin Ladner.
Don't expect the smoking police to show up at the ball parks, but there are means of enforcement included in the new ordinance.
"It could be handled by law enforcement, or it could be handled by a private citizen filing an affidavit, as it is with any misdemeanor offense. If you violate the ordinance, there's a graduated penalty for violating it. If you do it again and again, eventually, it could result in six months imprisonment," explained Tim Holleman, attorney for the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.
While the no smoking ordinance covers virtually all county owned facilities, there is one notable exception. That's the beach. Beach visitors will still be able to light up along the 26 miles of sandy shore.
The first reading received unanimous approval from supervisors Monday morning.
The proposed ordinance also gives the county administrator the authority to create a designated smoking area at any county-owned facility.