BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Statistics show that about 500 people die from second hand smoke exposure each year.
However, Smokefree Mississippi is trying to reduce that number.
"In about 2006, Mississippi started passing these local smoke-free ordinances. The movement really picked up movement in 2006. We've seen now 123 cities and municipalities have these comprehensive smoke-free ordinances," said Mississippi State University President Robert, McMillen.
On Tuesday afternoon, a special reception was held to recognize communities that have recently become smoke-free communities.
"Every year we get together at this conference to give an award to the communities that have done so. For the fifth year in a row, Mississippi has won a national award for passing the most local ordinances in a calendar year," said McMillen.
Among those newly smoke-free cities is Diamondhead.
"It came on us very very quickly, there was initially some resentment from the community," said Diamondhead Mayor, Tommy Schafer.
Although Schafer is happy with the award, there was still some concern about an individual's right to smoke.
"I don't want to infringe upon the rights on anyone else, and I think what we've done in Diamondhead is figure out a way to accommodate the smoker while not putting smoke inside the facilities while people are eating, drinking and smoking." said Schafer.
Smokefree Mississippi will continue to try to encourage more cities to become smoke free.