Mississippi Legislative Priorities

Mississippi Leads U.S. in Strong, Local Smokefree Workplace Laws

Wins National Award from Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights

July 2013

Mississippi is receiving national recognition for the growing number of communities taking action to protect citizens from the health hazards of secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places. Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), a national non-profit organization, presented its National Smokefree Indoor Air Challenge “First Place” Award to Mississippi health groups during the MS Municipal League Conference in Biloxi, MS on July 16.  The award was first presented in 1998 as a way to recognize the importance of local governments for protecting nonsmokers from the health hazards of secondhand smoke. 

Mississippi has passed a grand total of 45 local ordinances that protect workers in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. “Mississippi has become a national leader in passing local smokefree ordinances.  These laws save lives and save money by preventing illness caused by secondhand smoke in the workplace,” said Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. 

Nationally, over 575 cities and counties have enacted strong local smokefree workplace laws that include bars, restaurants, and other workplaces.

Considering the ongoing efforts of the tobacco industry to undermine local control for public health, we feel it’s important to recognize the right and responsibility of local governments to address this important public health issue,” said Hallett.  “Congratulations to Mississippi’s cities for their leadership in protecting people’s freedom to breathe clean air in the workplace. We encourage casino host communities to also take action to protect their citizens from secondhand smoke in the workplace.  People working in casinos have to breathe indoors just like anyone else in their job.”

The Second Place winner is California. Third Place is a three-way tie between Indiana, South Carolina, and North Dakota. 

Tobacco Control in Mississippi

  • Smoke-Free Policy:  The American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi are working with the Mississippi State Department of Health to support a bill that will make the state of Mississippi Smoke-Free.  Secondhand smoke is 3rd leading cause of preventable deaths. Everyone deserves to breathe smokefree air. The legislation we are working on together will be a 100% Comprehensive policy.
  • Funding: We advocate for maintained funding to Mississippi State Department of Health for tobacco prevention, education and cessation program funding.  It is essential to continue educating our kids so they will never begin to use tobacco products and provide those who are using the opportunities to quit.

Asthma in Mississippi Schools

  • ASTHMA IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR SCHOOL ABSENTEEISM. We will continue to educate school personnel on the importance of asthma friendly school environments, requirements of asthma action plans and how to handle asthma related emergencies. 

Environmental Health

  • The American Lung Association monitors indoor and outdoor air quality to make sure everyone breathes clean air. Environment tracking devices detect ozone and air pollution, which affects those with and without lung disease. We strive to set air pollution standards that protect the health of all Americans.

If you have any questions about the issue above or would like to get involved, please email Jennifer Cofer.