Doctors push for statewide smoke-free legislation - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Doctors push for statewide smoke-free legislation

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

If the State of Mississippi outlawed smoking in all restaurants, bars, and establishments across the state, instead of depending on local ordinances, would the bulk of our health problems be solved?

A group of doctors gathered at the Mississippi State Capitol Thursday say yes. They're members of the Mississippi Medical Association.

"With a comprehensive smoke-free air law, we have almost immediately, on average, a 25% decrease in cardiovascular events, in other words heart attacks, that lead to hospitalizations in this state," says State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.

The physicians say a smoke-free air law would also improve stroke and infant mortality rates.

The State Medical Association, headed by Dr. Steve Demetropoulos of Pascagoula, is hoping a Senate bill that aims to make the state smoke-free will get some attention. 81 cities and towns across Mississippi are smoke-free or partially smoke-free.

A study was done on the effects of second-hand smoke three years after Starkville and Hattiesburg took the plunge.

"In Starkville, the heart attack rates for non-smokers dropped 28%, it dropped 13.% in Hattiesburg. That equals $288,000 in Starkville and $2.4 million in Hattiesburg just taking care of those folks. They were non-smokers," Dr. Demetropoulos says.

We asked if the Association was getting any push-back from the restaurant association or any other group.

"Yeah. There's concern there, but when we poll their membership, the majority of their membership favors smoke-free work places," he says.

A hearing was to take place Thursday afternoon, in which the bill was to be discussed. 

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