Article Comment 

City to consider smoking ordinance


Kristin Mamrack



The Columbus City Council Tuesday is scheduled to consider a city-wide smoking ordinance which includes options for non-smokers and smokers. 


The proposed ordinance, which largely is modeled after a Tennessee state law, bans smoking in “all enclosed public places,” including restaurants. 


But it allows smoking in “age-restricted venues,” or bars, restaurants and other establishments, which only allow people age 21 or over to enter, and “private clubs,” which restrict access to the general public. 


“I just think it’s the right thing to do,” Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box said of the ordinance, which he proposed. “Secondhand smoke is one of the most dangerous things in the world. There’s just study, after study, after study on that.  


“Cities all over the country have done it and been effective,” he continued. “I think this is a way for us to be progressive and step up to the table and do the right thing. I’m hoping it comes to a vote.” 


On Thursday, half of the city’s councilmen had yet to read and decide about the ordinance. 


But the other half spoke in support of a smoking ordinance. 


“At this time, I’m not prepared to make a decision on that,” said Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor. “We all have to sit down and look at the different options we’ll come up with.” 


“I haven’t decided,” said Ward 4 Councilman Fred Stewart. “I haven’t read (the ordinance). I need to read it and see what it’s all about.” 


“I really hadn’t had a chance to read the proposed ordinance,” said Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, noting his family’s restaurant, Helen’s Kitchen, already prohibits smoking. I have to read to see what’s in the proposed ordinance, before I can comment on it one way or the other.” 


“I’m against smoking in public restaurants,” said Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens. “I’m pleased it’s coming up. I think it’s way past due. I know some don’t think it’s going to help, but with the shape we’re in now in this country, we need to protect ourselves any way we can.” 


“I’m going to plan on voting for it,” said Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin, noting he expects the ordinance to be passed by the council. “It gives restaurants an option to do smoking or non-smoking. They will have an option. I like that part of it. 


“I like the portion of having a non-smoking option to protect the young people,” he continued. “I think probably the city is split 50/50 of people that want smoking and people that want non-smoking. I think this will give (business owners) an option of what they want to do with their business.” 


As written, the proposed ordinance allows businesses with three or fewer employees to designate enclosed smoking rooms, inaccessible to the general public. 


Additionally, exemptions are provided for “non-enclosed areas of public places, including, open-air patios, porches or decks.” 


If the council approves the ordinance Tuesday night, the ordinance wouldn’t go into effect until Dec. 22 or later. 


If approved, the council could not take final action on the ordinance for at least 30 days. 






Proposed ordinance  












WHEREAS, scientific studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution; and 


WHEREAS, such scientific studies, including studies by the Surgeon General of the United States, have shown that breathing secondhand smoke poses a significant health hazard; and  


WHEREAS, the Mayor and the City Council find and declare that the purposes of this ordinance are to protect the public health and to promote the general welfare of its citizens by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment; and 


WHEREAS, the Mayor and the City Council find it in the best interest of the public health and welfare to provide a copy of the Smoking Ban Ordinance; 






1. Short Title. 




This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the "Columbus, Mississippi Non-Smoker Protection Act". 




2. Definitions. 




As used in this part, unless the context requires otherwise: 




(1) "Acceptable form of identification" means: 




(A) A state-issued driver license; 




(B) A state-issued identification card; 




(C) A valid passport; or 




(D) A valid military identification card; 




(2) "Age-restricted venue" means a legal establishment that affirmatively restricts access to its buildings or facilities at all times to persons who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older by requiring each person who attempts to gain entry to such buildings or facilities to submit for inspection an acceptable form of identification for the express purpose of determining if the person is twenty-one (21) years of age or older; 




(3) "Employee" means a person who is employed by an employer in consideration for direct or indirect monetary wages or profit and a person who volunteers such person's services for a non-profit entity; and 




(4) "Employer" means a person, business, partnership, association, corporation, including a municipal corporation, educational institution, trust, or non-profit entity that employs the services of one (1) or more individual persons; 




(5) "Enclosed area" means all space between a floor and ceiling that is enclosed on all sides by solid walls or windows, exclusive of doorways, which extend from the floor to ceiling; 




(6) "Health care facility" means an office or institution providing care or treatment of diseases, whether physical, mental, or emotional, or other medical, physiological, or psychological conditions. This definition shall include all waiting rooms, hallways, private rooms, semiprivate rooms, and wards within health care facilities; 




(7) "Person" means an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation or any other organization or group of persons; 




(8) "Place of employment" means an enclosed area under the control of a public or private employer that employees normally frequent during the course of employment, including, but not limited to, work areas, private offices, employee lounges, restrooms, conference rooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, employee cafeterias, hallways, and vehicles. A private residence is not a "place of employment" unless it is used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility; 




(9) "Private club" means any club or organization that does not permit the general public access to its facilities or activities. Access is denied to anyone who does not agree or adhere to the rules of membership. In order to be considered a private club or organization for purposes of this part, the club or organization shall adhere to all of the following criteria: 




(A) Have a permanent mechanism to carefully screen applicants for membership on subjective rather than objective factors; 




(B) Limit access and use of facilities, services and activities of the organization to members and guests of the members; 




(C) Be controlled by its membership and operate solely for the benefit and pleasure of its members; and 




(D) Advertise exclusively and only to its members, excluding membership drives; 




"Private club" also means any institution or organization that has received a determination of exemption from the Internal Revenue Service under United States Code 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(19); 




(10) "Public place" means an enclosed area to which the public is invited including, but not limited to, banks, educational facilities, health care facilities, hotel and motel lobbies, laundromats, public transportation facilities, reception areas, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, recreational facilities, retail service establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, theaters, places of employment and waiting rooms; 




(11) "Restaurant" means an eating establishment,




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Reader Comments

Article Comment YAY commented at 11/13/2009 12:08:00 PM:

I love it! I hope this becomes a reality. I really enjoy going to restaurants in Tupelo, Starkville and Tuscaloosa because I can eat dinner without tasting cigarette smoke. And having to go THROUGH the smoking section to go to the rest room? What a ridiculous thing to have to do.

YAY, Councilman Box!


Article Comment SHart commented at 11/13/2009 12:17:00 PM:

Colubmus you can not sit on the fence here. Just ban smoking in public period. If people want to kill themselves let them do it in their own car or home. Walking into a public area to shop or just getting across the parking lot nonsmokers should not have to be smacked in the face with smoke! Why do people smoke outside the entrances to supermarkets or Walmart for example? It is almost like a cigarette is a passport to enter into Walmart anymore. No less than 4 people smoking outside at even given time. I do not go there anymore. I no longer live in Mississippi but have family members that live there and some of them smoke. I wait until about noon to call them hopefully by that time their morning coughing episode is over and they can carry on a converstation. Seriously people think of the money you would save by stop smoking.Think how your habit is negatively effecting not only your health but your family's health. If you do not care what your smoke is doing to strangers surely you care enough about your family to stop. Statisics show the people that smoke the most can not afford to smoke in the first place.I guess smokers can look on the bright side eventually you can trade in a pack of cigarettes for an oxygen tank with nose tubing of your very own. You may can even get it in your favorite color. Mississippi is one of the most unhealthy states in the United States. The state is already battling obesity. I am sure the smoking realted deaths are one of the highest in the nation. Discipline is a good thing. Why not make an effort to become healthy for yourself and your family. Your children will appreciate your lifestyle change.


Article Comment Bob commented at 11/13/2009 12:42:00 PM:

For those who say "it can't happen here", you must realize that a well funded "war on smokers" is underway. Here's where it started:

And what the 99 million dollars was going to. Note on page seven the "inside -out", provision going for patios later, AFTER business owners spend thousands of dollars to build them to accommodate their smoking customers, clearly showing that the tobacco control activists have ABSOLUTLY NO CONCERN about local issues or businesses. Now that they found gullible lawmakers, they'll be back for the exemptions later. You may need to CTRL and scoll to enlarge it.

Here's the "model ban" from page eight that many communities copied, printed, and passed. It's the "smoking ban for dummies" It only takes a few minutes to fill in the blanks naming your community, the administrators names, and blanks to customize it to your community.


Article Comment bout time commented at 11/13/2009 12:46:00 PM:

The whole city, restaurants, etc all need to be Smoke Free! Tupelo, Starkville, and other towns have already taken steps to better life quality, why does Columbus wait so long to do things right? We all know, no one likes smokers, even smokers really wish they could stop! It's nasty, makes you look foolish and ugly and its killing all of us. It's time to be a Smoke Free city.


Article Comment tom commented at 11/13/2009 12:49:00 PM:

All I can say is, It's about time! Thank you Mr. Box!!!


Article Comment Gene commented at 11/13/2009 3:24:00 PM:

Is "BoB" really the notorious spammer "generalsn?" (Google his text.)

It's the same BS boilerplate.

Are there 2 people this nutty in the whole world?

What's the real motive?


Article Comment Avatar commented at 11/13/2009 4:59:00 PM:

I had no idea that Columbus had so many communist, socialists and liberal hacks!! Wonder if these same people will continue this attack on those dastardly fast food restaurants that serve unhealthy meals that are killing all of us! And let's not forget that poisonous alcohol. UNBELIEVABLE!!!


Article Comment ALL commented at 11/13/2009 5:34:00 PM:

Come on Columubus!!!!! Ban smoking in ALL pubic places!!! If other cities can do it...why can't we? I have the right as a non-smoker to be in a public place and should have the choice to breath non-toxic air! I do not get that freedom as long as smokers are allowed to blow their toxic fumes, that make me and my family ill. SHart I agree totally with you...You cannot even walk in a smoke free building without having to inhale THEIR unhealthy habits...which by the way, is more harmful to non-smokers than the smokers. BAN SMOKING IN ALL PUBLIC PLACES!!!PLEASE!!!!IF YOU ARE GOING TO BAN IT, BAN IT ALL THE WAY. QUITE DRAGGING YOUR BUTTS ON EVERYTHING COLUMBUS... THIS ISN'T UNCHARTED GROUND!!!!!!


Article Comment health commented at 11/13/2009 5:56:00 PM:

Who cares if it is 50/50. This should be about the health of people. Mississippi is the most unhealthiest state. The smoking ban should be about making columbus a healthier place regardless if people like that decision or not. Peoples health is far more important than worrying if the decision will make someone angry. Smoking should be banned in all public places for the better health of everyone.


Article Comment Greg commented at 11/13/2009 6:36:00 PM:

I agree. It's for the health of the people of Columbus. Ban all public smoking. Smokers will still be able to smoke. Nobody is taking that way from them. Where is Five-O? I thought for sure he'd be posting in here. Ban Public smoking and prevent us from having to run the "Smokers Gauntlet" outside of stores and grocery markets.


Article Comment SHart commented at 11/13/2009 8:29:00 PM:

We moved to Florida from Columbus 15 years ago. Consider buying another home their to visit family that still live in the area. I could not believe Columbus wanting to be a model city for other nearby cities still allowed smoking in restaurants. FYI restaurant owners the smoke from the smoking section flows over to the non smoking area. A friend from Columbus said if you do not like smelling smoke stay at home. The restaurants are losing customers by allowing smoking in their establishments. People that do not smoke have more money for to spend on food and tips. Columbus would benefit greatly by being a HEALTHY example for other cities.


Article Comment drew commented at 11/14/2009 12:47:00 AM:

is there anyway we can let the people of columbus vote on it. Set a date advertise on the radio, tv, and around town and we can see what the people in columbus want


Article Comment shwilliams commented at 11/14/2009 3:06:00 PM:

Columbus it is simple. Do you want to be portrayed as a city that promotes health of the general public? Or do you want others to view you as another typical unhealthy Mississippi town? You can not satisfy everyone by offering a deal that pleases both sides. The nonsmokers want smoking banned,period.The smokers want to smoke anywhere,anytime they please. Nonsmokers should not have to be subjected to the unhealthy habit of those who smoke. The image of Columbus is being destroyed. Smoking and changing the name of The "W"..What actually does Columbus want to become. Your nonsmoking residents are dining and shopping in nearby nonsmoking cities. Columbus you are losing money not to mention the health of your city. It would be nice to see the elderly exercising late into their 80's or maybe even their 90's instead of in a wheelchair with oxygen tanks. JUST BAN Smoking! I know this is not politically correct but I really do not listen to the opinion of smokers because if they smoke I question their intelligence.


Article Comment Mark commented at 11/15/2009 4:50:00 AM:

I can't believe the communist rule that we are falling into! I do agree in common places no smoking but if i own a business then i do not think people like bill Gavin and etc... should dictate their policies in my place of business. So you really think this ord. will make columbus a better picture? No matter how you paint a pile of crap it will still be a pile of crap, unless you are just painting it for the snotty uppity ups.


Article Comment GB commented at 11/15/2009 5:40:00 AM:

Ban all public smoking? I can tolerate banning in restaurants, public buildings, even businesses, but everywhere! This is completely absurd, you talk about inhaling all those toxic fumes, what about all the carbon monoxide that cars are producing? The fumes from businesses that pollute the air. Are all of you going to stay at home and mail order everything? Wear a respirator when you walk through the parking lot at Wal-Mart? It should be a law then to make everyone buy a electric car to reduce emissions! Come on people, I know its not healthy for the person that smokes and for you that have to deal with secondhand smoke but an all-out ban on public smoking? I have to agree with Avatar, the lifestyles that all residents choose here with the obesity that is in this town and the co-morbity that is associated with that alone is going to kill more people by way of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease than second-hand smoke. Next time your out, whether your fat or not, look around and tell me what pecentage of the people you see are overweight. Like I said, I'm not against banning smoking in some public places, but this is not the most healthy thing in our little community.


Article Comment NP commented at 11/15/2009 3:30:00 PM:

From the comments above, it looks like it's more than just 50/50. Columbus needs to speak it's voice, promote health, and ban public smoking.


Article Comment harleyrider1978 commented at 11/15/2009 5:06:00 PM:

SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE. Ask the anti-tobacco folks to tell you what truly is in second hand smoke...when it burns from the coal its oxygenated and everything is burned and turned into water vapor..................thats right ever burned leaves in the fall...know how the heavy smoke bellows off.......thats the organic material releasing the moisture in the leaves the greener the leaves/organic material the more smoke thats made......thats why second hand smoke is classified as a class 3 irritant by osha and epa as of 2006........after that time EPA decided to change the listing of shs as a carcinogen for political reasons.......because it contained a trace amount of 6 chemicals so small even sophisticated scientific equipment can hardly detect it ........they didnt however use the normal dose makes the poison computation when they made this political decision. However osha still maintains shs/ets as an irritant only and maintains the dose makes the poison osha is in charge of indoor air quality its decisions are based on science not political agendas as epa's is. We can see this is true after a federal judge threw out the epa's study on shs as junk science......... Wednesday, March 12, 2008 British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke "health hazard" claims are greatly exaggerated The BMJ published report at:

concludes that "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer are considerably weaker than generally believed." What makes this study so significant is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers.....

meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. In light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws. Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study:

Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer-official By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent " The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: 'There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.' " And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University proves that secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations.

The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke... but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). - (Excerpted from "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" with permission of the author.)

The Myth of the Smoking Ban 'Miracle' Restrictions on smoking around the world are claimed to have had a dramatic effect on heart attack rates. It's not true.

As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997


Article Comment SWilliams commented at 11/15/2009 5:49:00 PM:

HarleyRider let me understand your comments perfectly.You seem to back cigarette smoking with studies saying how cigarette smoking will benefit unborn children and other people. Let me ask you just WHAT have you been smoking. These studies possibly were produced by cigarette makers themselves to promote their product. You Think??? I have seen what cigarettes do to people. As a nurse seen a 40 year old woman in the corner of her hospital room on her knees gasping for air. She died a very young woman because she could not BREATHE.... Get it she could not breathe. Tell this to the man who lost his nose to cancer caused from cigarette smoking. I have seen numerous doctors and peditricians tell patients you are killing yourself and children by smoking.I know surgeons that will not operate on patients that smoke because of the increase risk. Second hand smoke is a real problem. Some people are allergic to it because cigarette smoke contains approx 400 chemicals. Give me a break.....There is no way cigarette smoking has a positive effect on anyones health. If smoking is ok why is there a warning on a pack of cigarettes of the dangers to your health. Your conclusion to have a balance debate...There is no debate needed....Smokers do not want to give it up..because they are addicted and do not have what it takes to quit. Anyone that cared about their health or the health of others would quit. Put it this way intelligent people who want a better life would quit. Blow your smoke somewhere else! I do not buy it...


Article Comment YAY commented at 11/16/2009 8:39:00 AM:

Of course there are people who complain about those of us who complain about smoking...
"Why don't they outlaw fried foods?"
"What about all the alcohol?"

Such ridiculous rationalizations. I can still BREATHE if I sit next to someone eating some fried chicken. I don't taste any of that fried chicken when I take a bite of my cheesestick. I can still breathe if my companion is tossing back the Jack Daniels.

No one is saying that it's healthy to overeat/eat the wrong types of food or to drink to excess. BUT those are not the same as having to breathe second-hand smoke. Believe what you want - die hard smokers don't understand how unpleasant they smell & unless you have upper respiratory issues, you don't really understand how difficult it is to be around even a little bit of smoke.


Article Comment Watchdog commented at 11/16/2009 8:50:00 PM:

Funny how so many talk about whether they LIKE smoke or not...but the legislation isn't about that any more than it's about smelly shoes.

It's about Harms of Tobacco Smoke. Unfortunately, none of the "studies" of this, even at Surgeon General level, have gotten around to analyzing or even describing a so-called "tobacco product". They NEVER qualify the term "tobacco" for any processing or adulteration, no matter how deadly those non-tobacco adulterants may be.
That's not science or medicine. It's corporate PR to protect the cigarette industry, all its additives and adulterants suppliers, their investors and insurers, AND their complicit friends in government, from some serious liabilities and criminal charges.

They "study" smoking products that may nor not even contain any actual tobacco, that may be packed with toxic and carcinogenic tobacco pesticide residues, with carcinogenic radiation from certain phosphate fertilizers, with any of over 1000 untested-often toxic-non tobacco additives, with addiction-enhancing additives, with kid-attracting additives, and with even fire causing burn-accelerants.
Their conculsion? Tobacco kills.
Second conclusion? The victims kill and harm themselves by their behavior..."smoking".

Perpetrators and their allies in government... off the hook.


Article Comment Watchdog commented at 11/16/2009 9:18:00 PM:

Reference material for that last Watchdog comment can be found at

Or just Google "Fauxbacco".

Also see "Bill Drake Smoke and Illusion"

Find out that that "second hand smoke" so many hate is not likely tobacco smoke but smoke from industrial waste camouflaged as tobacco. Blame the right things.


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