Ocean Springs Considers Smoking Ban - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs Considers Smoking Ban

At B.B.'s Restaurant you'll find a tasty shrimp po boy or a great bowl of red beans and rice. But you won't find any hint of cigarette smoke.

"We were like the first people in the state of Mississippi that were a totally smoke free restaurant," said owner, B.B. Minton.

It wasn't a popular choice when B.B.'s went smoke free in August of 1990.

"It's been a great choice. There were a lot of people that at first didn't want to come because we didn't allow smoking. But as time went on, all we've received are compliments about having a smoke free place," said Minton.

B.B.'s is no longer the only smoke free place. There's even a new bar downtown where smoking is not allowed.

"It's a matter of doing what's proper and correct," said Woodrow Gibbs.

He's the man asking city leaders to adopt the ban. Gibbs points to the growing number of smoke free laws.

"It's not a money issue, it's a health issue. Second hand smoke sickens, maims and kills. There's no debate over it. The debate is over with. The medical debate is over with," he explained.

The measure faces certain opposition. Some consider it infringing on the rights of a business owner to choose. But such laws are increasing.

"Even New York City has a ban on smoking in restaurants. And they thought at first it would hurt their business, but apparently it has not. Some people actually seek out and prefer to attend a non-smoking facility," said Mayor Connie Moran.

City leaders say don't expect a final decision any time soon. They want time for public input and time to consider what other cities are doing to limit smoking.

"It's really going to have to be studied. I think you're looking at a three or four month study before we act on it," said alderman John Gill.

"It's time. Everywhere you go, outside Mississippi, most places are totally smoke free," said Minton.

The board of aldermen referred the issue to its public safety committee. That committee will look at smoking ban proposals in other cities before making a recommendation to the full board.

By Steve Phillips

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