OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The American Cancer Society is on a mission to make all Mississippi cities ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
A total of 129 Mississippi cities have banned smoking. According to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, a new poll of people in Ocean Springs indicates support for smoke-free bars and restaurants.
"Seventy-three percent of Ocean Springs residents support a comprehensive workplace ordinance that prohibits smoking in restaurants and bars," Kimberly Hughes said.
Some Ocean Springs bars and restaurants allow smoking, while others ban it inside and let customers smoke on outdoor patios.
The city has banned smoking in and around public buildings, and at parks and sports facilities. Smoke-free advocates say it comes down to the dangers of second hand smoke and public health.
"It's only been in the last 10 years that we have data that supports the risk of secondhand smoke. Obviously smoking is a choice, but our feeling is that infringes on the rights of others. We need to be moving towards a healthier Mississippi," according to oncologist Dr. Brian Persing.
Some say government should let the private sector decide the matter on its own, but experts are standing firm.
"All of those businesses our regulated for public health reasons in various ways. This would just be another protection. There's no safe layer against secondhand smoke. It's just another way to protect employees who work in these places," Hughes said. .
In the three Coast counties, only Moss Point, Pascagoula and Diamondhead have banned smoking entirely.