Eupora leaders have adopted a smoke-free air/tobacco-free ordinance for the city, which will go into effect next month.
They did so by unanimous vote Feb. 3 following a public hearing held in the Community Center because of the large crowd present. Jerry Gary (at-large) made the motion to do so during the Board of Aldermen’s monthly meeting and Howard Rumore (Ward 2) seconded.
“If we need to make any changes we can later on,” Gary said.
The ordinance prohibits smoking/tobacco use (including electronic smoking devices) in these locations:
— all city-owned buildings and vehicles, and all outdoor property adjacent to them.
— all enclosed public places within the city, including libraries, banks, professional offices, retail service establishments, restaurants and restrooms.
— all enclosed areas of places of employment without exception.
— all private clubs.
— all rooms in nursing homes and all hotel and motel guest rooms.
— within 25 feet outside enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited, and within 25 feet of all outdoor recreational areas, outdoor playgrounds and all outdoor public events, including parking lots.
A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited can be fined up to $50. A person who owns, manages or operates a public place or place of employment and who fails to comply with the decree’s provisions can be fined up to $100 for a first violation. The ordinance goes into effect 30 days from adoption. Copies are available at City Hall.
Kathryn Allman, area director for the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition, had met with aldermen three times since last May requesting that the board consider adopting a comprehensive smoke-free/vape-free ordinance prohibiting tobacco smoking in the workplace and in public places.
Lynn McCafferty of Eupora, who is an MTFC director for another region, spoke as a representative of Allman and as a concerned citizen during the public hearing.
“This ordinance is for everyone who doesn’t smoke,” she said. “This is something our city needs.”
She and others mentioned “Healthy Hometown” grants available from the Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to towns that have adopted a smoke-free ordinance.
The only person voicing opposition to the ordinance was local attorney Jan Butler, who said, “I think it’s overly broad.”
Referring to concerns about secondhand smoke, he said, “I don’t have to go where there’s secondhand smoke.” Butler, a former smoker, said the requirement that people smoke at least 25 feet away from a public building discriminates against those who have a smoking habit.
Gary said he had not heard about anyone in Mississippi’s 35 or so smoke-free communities complaining about their rights being violated. McCafferty said most buildings in the city are already smoke-free, and others noted that people can still smoke in their homes, cars or yards.
“We need to (do this),” McCafferty said. If somebody’s smoking they’re infringing on my rights also.”
The town of Mathiston is also a smoke-free community.