1. At least one municipality with commercial gaming passes a comprehensive smokefree ordinance;
2. Ensure smokefree protections for all workers and residents with the passage of a comprehensive statewide smokefree law; and
3. Sustain tobacco control prevention and cessation funding for the Mississippi State Department of Health, Office of Tobacco Control.
Members of the Mississippi Legislature once again failed to consider legislation that would prohibit smoking in all public places, workplaces and casinos during the 2016 legislative session. Tobacco control partners continued to educate lawmakers on the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and the impact on health in Mississippi. A comprehensive bill, House Bill 151 - The Mississippi Smoke-free Air Act of 2016, was introduced in the House Public Health and Human Services Committee by Rep. Bryant Clarke. The Chairman and Members of this committees decided this issue was not a priority issue for lawmakers to address, which resulted in the bill dying in committee. Unfortunately, there was not a companion bill in the Senate. The House of Representatives and the Senate did pass legislation to sustain the amount of funding to the Mississippi State Department of Health's Office of Tobacco Control for youth prevention, Tobacco Free Community Coalitions, and adult cessation programs statewide.
There continues to be significant support in local municipalities for public health protections from secondhand smoke as evidenced by 129 cities adopting comprehensive smokefree ordinances. This accounts for approximately 25 percent of Mississippians being protected by smokefree policies.
In 2017, the American Lung Association in Mississippi will continue to educate and advocate to state legislators about the benefits of tobacco control policies, including a statewide smokefree law. In order to meet the bold goals in Mississippi, state legislators will need to recognize the health and economic burden of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The Lung Association in Mississippi will continue to work with partners in the Smokefree Mississippi coalition to ensure successful passage and preservation of comprehensive local smokefree ordinances.