Group pushes legislature for statewide smoking ban

By: Jon Kalahar

JACSKON, MS (WLOX) - "Generally we choose restaurants that are smoke free," Gossett said.

Meridian resident Jeanette Gossett knows the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke. As a lung cancer survivor, she now tries to stay away from both.

"I have a son who smokes, (he) doesn't smoke around mom," said Gossett.

Right now, Gossett's hometown isn't one of the thirty cities who have passed smoking ban ordinances. But new numbers from a Mississippi state poll show 80 percent of Mississippians want a state wide ban in restaurants and workplaces.

Kimberly Hughes with the American Cancer Society said, "The less places people can smoke, it will help then, and it brings to their attention that smoking is bad. Smoking around other people is bad; smoking around your children is bad."

The proposed legislation would ban smoking within 20 feet of workplace entry ways. The main opponent of legislation like this is the Mississippi Restaurant and Hospitality Association says they will reserve comment until they see the bill in writing.

And once the legislative process is finished, the bill could look a lot different by the time it gets to the governor's desk for his signature.

Hughes said, "We've got our work cut out for us to work with our leaders in this building to let them know it's time for Mississippi to join the 26 other states."

The big knock against smoking bans at least from a money making point of view is it decreases business.

According to 'Smoke-Free Mississippi,' the decrease only last a couple of weeks then the customers return.