Article Comment 

Come on, Columbus: Let’s go smoke-free




It''s time to reconsider an anti-smoking ordinance in Columbus'' public spaces, including in restaurants and bars. 


There are many reasons for such a law, chief among them safeguarding the health of nonsmokers, and improving the overall quality of life in Columbus. 


For those who dispute the health argument, a new medical study shows that smoking bans can have an almost immediate effect. 


The Wall Street Journal reported last week on a study that showed smoke-free laws reduced the rate of heart attacks by an average of 17 percent in communities that had enacted the bans. The biggest declines, according to the study, were among nonsmokers and people between the ages of 40 and 60. 


"While smoking tobacco is known to heighten risk of heart attacks over a lifetime, there is some evidence that even short exposure to second-hand smoke can raise the risk of heart attacks," the Journal reported. "It can increase blood pressure, cause blood platelets to become sticky and injure cells that line the interior walls of blood vessels--all factors that can promote heart attacks." 


The studies covered dozens of communities and included around 24 million people. 


We could go on and on about the unhealthiness of second-hand smoke. (Smokers have a right to their habit, but we believe they don''t have a right to impact other people''s well-being.) 


Come on, Columbus. Such a law is long overdue. Nearly 30 Mississippi cities have anti-smoking laws, including Aberdeen, Starkville and Tupelo. The negative health impacts of second-hand smoke are beyond debate.  


Still, it has been more than a year since the city seriously considered some type of anti-smoking law, and there is little interest in bringing it back up. The two city council members who pushed for a law, Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan Mackay and Ward 3 Councilman Gene Coleman, were both voted out of office this year. As for the county, board President Harry Sanders has voiced strong opposition to a law, saying it should be left up for individual businesses to decide whether their establishment should be smoke-free or not. 


Local restaurant owners share that view: They should decide. Sanders and many local business owners tend to view anti-smoking laws as a moral issue. "I don''t think we can legislate moral things," Sanders said at an intergovernmental meeting on the issue last year.  


Sanders is both right, and wrong. Such a law would legislate a health issue, not a moral one -- second-hand smoke creates an unhealthy environment. Citizens also should not be exposed to rotten food or an unclean restaurant, which the government also wisely regulates. (For this reason we also dispute the argument that businesses would be negatively impacted by a ban; many places in other cities have seen business grow when they become smoke-free.) 


But the law is also, indeed, a moral issue -- one for our leaders. We feel they have a moral obligation to safeguard our health.  


Let''s not have an anti-smoking law because everybody else is doing it. And let''s not have one because we want to impose yet another damaging regulation on business owners. 


Let''s do it because it''s the right thing.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment Bill Cannon commented at 10/1/2009 11:03:00 AM:

With on breath people complain about government being in our business, then we want more regulations! I though the restaurant analogy was interesting. So what is next for restaurants? The "food police" banning bacon, eggs, whole milk, cream, etc? Where does it stop.


Article Comment Mark commented at 10/1/2009 11:17:00 AM:

I agree with the above, LET THE BUSINESS OWNER DECIDE! If you don't like it don't patronize the business you have that freedom of choice,just as I don't patronize a non-smoking establishment. Small business' have a hard enough time making it without the government and anti-this and anti-that people sticking their noses in.


Article Comment Ellen commented at 10/1/2009 11:30:00 AM:

Mark, if this was a big city and we had a big choice of restaurants, it would be fine to say "go where there is no smoking" but there just isn't a huge choice of places to eat in columbus. I don't want to be subjected to second hand smoke especially when I am eating.. I go there to eat FOOD, not eat smoke!!!


Article Comment Bob commented at 10/1/2009 12:44:00 PM:

I am new to the area and am used to living where there are "Smoke Free" restaurants, some bars, and other public places. Here I have enjoyed going out to the various restaurants/bars but hate coming home smelling like smoke, let alone having someone blow smoke in my face. I have however found a few non-smoking places in Columbus. Is it possible to have you publish a list of all the Non-Smoking establishements in the Columbus area? Would be greatly appreciated.


Article Comment Mark commented at 10/1/2009 1:27:00 PM:

Keyword "choice". You "chose" to go into the smoking establishments, you can also "choose" to go to Starkville or any other non smoking restaurants in town, that is your right. Don't tread on mine, don't like it don't go simple as that.


Article Comment SteelerFan commented at 10/1/2009 1:59:00 PM:

I totally agree Ellen. In fact I think Mark should just be banned from all restaurants, period! Regardless if it smoking or non-smoking!!


Article Comment Olemiss commented at 10/1/2009 2:05:00 PM:

I think smokers should have just as much right as anyone else in this town. Ellen, you can sit outside or on the other side of the bar away from smoke. Remember they do have smoking/non smoking tables? Just wait til the government takes something away you like to do. Bars? the best thing with beer is a cig. just like cake with frosting.


Article Comment Mark commented at 10/1/2009 2:08:00 PM:

Steelers suck


Article Comment real steeler fan commented at 10/1/2009 2:12:00 PM:

I am a real Steeler fan. I am embarrassed that you even call yourself a steeler fan. I will smoke where i want.


Article Comment SteelerFan commented at 10/1/2009 2:14:00 PM:

Yes, the Steelers sucked their way to 6 Superbowl championships! More than any smoking team we have in the NFL!! I wonder what's gonna happen to Dallas now that they lost TO??


Article Comment Duane commented at 10/1/2009 2:14:00 PM:

I feel that the cities business is just that, the cities business! The individual business owners who have sacrificed to be in the position to own and operate an establishment in our fair city that have to operate under all the other mandated laws and requirements, should have the intelligence and ability to know what is right for there own business!! After all they are the ones responsible for ultimatly generating tax revenue for our city.


Article Comment KJ commented at 10/1/2009 2:20:00 PM:

There are unused retail spaces in the city that are probably available for someone that wants to open a restaurant and make it non-smoking. With all the pent-up demand, someone should make a killing.


Article Comment real steeler fan commented at 10/1/2009 2:20:00 PM:

I am a real Steeler fan. I am embarrassed that you even call yourself a steeler fan. I will smoke where i want.


Article Comment Alabama commented at 10/1/2009 2:31:00 PM:

I agree you have a choice to sit in non smoking or smoking and thats is fine to keep the resturants smoking, but if you are going to do that, make sure you have the restrooms on the non smoking side . Thats why i want take my kids to the Grill in Columbus because you have to walk thru the smoking section and bar area to get to the restroom and its not fair for our kids to have to go thru that just to go to the bathroom...So thats why I would agree to have no smoking in resturants....


Article Comment Poker Gals commented at 10/1/2009 2:38:00 PM:

It should be left up for the individual be those who are a smoker or non-smoker. These individuals should decide to patronize a smoking or non- smoking business. Both are CHOICES. Resturants maybe ok but bars? those folks are there to drink, maybe smoke,& socialize to loosen up.
Come on, get off your bandwagons.


Article Comment SteelerFan commented at 10/1/2009 2:43:00 PM:

Actually the best thing with cigs is cake with frosting! Then wash it down with beer.


Article Comment Non Smoker commented at 10/1/2009 2:46:00 PM:

I don't take my kids to a bar regardless of whether it's smoking or non smokiing! WTF


Article Comment JC commented at 10/1/2009 3:01:00 PM:

I think people should have the right to choose whether or not to be Steelers fans without having the city make that decision for them.


Article Comment bh commented at 10/1/2009 3:30:00 PM:

I have encouraged the City Council and the Planning Commission to change the ordinances so any new restaurant/bar would be mandated to have the restrooms in central area to prevent anyone having to go through a smoking area. If we get enough people talking to our elected representives we can get this changed. I do believe that the person who has invested in the business should decide the clientele they want and I can make my decision.


Article Comment PoPs commented at 10/1/2009 6:25:00 PM:

I say leave it to the business. These places of business pay taxes and fees to remain open, If the city or local population want to control how the business operates then these taxes and fees should be done away with.


Article Comment mark commented at 10/2/2009 3:10:00 AM:

Letting one woman dictate what everyone should or shouldnt do. She rates great for soscialist and communist types of govt. lets stop these kinds of people from making things their way. furthermore i am sure she doesnt even go to night clubs so she needs to keep her snout out of it!


Article Comment mark commented at 10/2/2009 3:18:00 AM:

susan mackay reminds me of the crazy nancy pelosi...she too loves to dream up crap for her own benifit and to hear herself bark! Let people decide for themselves on these issues. If i was a bar owner or restaurant owner in columbus and this kind of crap passed i would shut down and move my business out of columbus!


Article Comment RM commented at 10/2/2009 8:42:00 AM:

Please keep leading the charge for non-smoking in public places for Columbus. It is the right thing to do. It is the progressive thing to do. I can't believe that Columbus would rush to follow Starkville on Sunday alcohol sales, but won't follow them on non-smoking. By the way, I don't know what the business owners here are so afraid of. The bar and club business is doing just fine in Starkville and in Florida, New York, PA, etc., etc., etc. where statewide bans have been in effect for years. Most bars have a nice outside area for smokers to enjoy their private suicide ritual. I wonder how many new people move to Starkville instead of Columbus since they are coming from these "smoke free" states........especially since most of the new industry is located out by the airport, an equal commute from either city. Why is Starkville growing and is now larger in population than Columbus for the first time? As for those who say, "if you don't like it, go to Starkville", we do......or we go to Huck's Place which is non-smoking here in Columbus.


Article Comment 14/88 commented at 10/2/2009 8:44:00 AM:

It should be up to the business owner. If someone does not want to be around it, eat at Boogersling. Smokers are now paying even more taxes than you non-smokers, so lay off and quit your belly aching. If smokers quit going to these restaurants because they expect them to sit outside in the cold, rain, etc. I would hope the place would go broke, would definately serve them and the podunk city of Columbus right. We should not have to bend under some crybaby bully tactics.


Article Comment bmc commented at 10/2/2009 9:24:00 AM:

I have lived in a lot of different parts of the country, and every time the non-smoking issue came up, polls were taken to see just how the majority of the people felt about the issue. Face it, smoking is an addiction just like heroin. The difference is smoking is legal - heroin isn't. Wake up!


Article Comment CR commented at 10/2/2009 9:41:00 AM:

Last year the city organized a committee to decide on the smoking issue. They concluded to leave it up to the indiviual business owner whether to ban smoking in their establishments. This is as it should be. If going smoke free is the right decision for your business then ban it. We do not need government deciding on how a business owner should run their business. This is what the city has decided. Why does the Dispatch continue to harp on this? You would think you would be on the side of the business owners who support your paper through advertising.


Article Comment shwilliams commented at 10/2/2009 11:03:00 AM:

Certainly people have the right to smoke. Intelligent people choose not to smoke. If you think I am saying smoking is an "unintelligent" choice,that is exactly what I am saying.As someone that promotes health and in the healthcare profession I have zero tolerance and patience with people that smoke. If restaurants and bars want to allow smoking in their establishments,fine go ahead I do not have to go to those places. But when a nonsmoker is simply walking into the supermarket or mall and someone elses cigarette smoke smacks you in the face to a point you start coughing is uncalled for. Smoke in your car, house or your restaurant of choice. But could nonsmokers please have the great outdoors free from your smoke. A family member of mine would no longer be here but he stop smoking 17 years ago. He was coughing so bad the doctor told him he was in the begining stages of COPD(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The disease that keeps on giving! You even have your own personal oxygen tank to carry around with you. But since this family member stopped smoking he no longer coughs at all. You would never know he ever smoked. Smoking not only is horrible for you,your children and everyone else, it smells so bad. If you notice the people that smoke usually can not afford to smoke in the first place. The time and money used to smoke could be used to improve their lives. Use the money toward education or your children's education.


Article Comment TG commented at 10/2/2009 4:10:00 PM:

A smoking ban should be in place just to keep employees from having to breathe second hand smoke.Step into the 21st century Columbus, a little education wont kill you but second hand smoke will. Go Vikings Monday Night.


Article Comment JW commented at 10/2/2009 5:02:00 PM:

Come on, there is no such thing as smoking and non smoking sections. A smoke filled room knows no boundaries. Second hand smoke affects everyone. Every patron should have the expectation that they can go to a restaurant and eat and drink in the cleanest manner possible. That is not possible when the table next to you is smoking.

For those that smoke, do it outside (far away from the front door preferably) or do it at home. Your "choice" (addiction) should not be affecting the person next to you, but with smoking there is no getting around that.

Wake up Columbus and pass the smoke ban ordinances once and for all


Article Comment jaw commented at 10/3/2009 10:24:00 AM:

they will stop smoking when they get cancer,just dont give it to us or our kids.


Article Comment JD commented at 10/3/2009 2:33:00 PM:

It sure is nice to work in a venue in Starkville that is smoke free... not everything smells like cigarette smoke anymore, and it doen't coat a film on my electronic equipment.. We have outdoor venues that you can smoke, and people that do that enjoy it. I think if Columbus would go smoke free, no one would miss it in 2 months, and you would wonder what took them so long...Plus, bar/restaurants could have outside bistro settings that support smoking, with little change in customers.


Article Comment beth commented at 10/4/2009 12:07:00 AM:

I run J. Broussard's and we do not wish to be forced to disallow smoking in our restaurant. we only allow smoking in one small room in our restaurant that is behind a closed door. I am not a smoker, nor have i ever been. I am disgusted by the smell of it. That is why when we got our new building, we moved the smoking section to the back of the restaurant and put it behind a closed door. I believe there should be stricter rules about the placement and ventilation of a smoking environment, but it should be the choice of the merchant whether to invest their time and money into the changes needed or be a non smoking venue.


Article Comment Bill Cannon commented at 10/4/2009 8:39:00 AM:

So, jaw... tell us. What percentage of smokers can be expected to develop lung cancer? Never mind, don't answer. The question was rhetorical. I doubt you know. It is around 15%.


Article Comment Bill Cannon commented at 10/4/2009 8:43:00 AM:

Commendations to Broussard's for their closed door solution to smoking areas. I also recommend a separate HVAC for the area. If a smoking area is worthwhile, it should be worth the investment.


Article Comment SNM commented at 10/5/2009 12:34:00 PM:

Ban smoking!! Did you know the WHOLE state of Georgia is smoke-free? It has been for a while now. We're a little behind the times here, Columbus! Get with it!! It reminds me of other events in the past when Mississippi was behind the times...
The whole smoking/non-smoking section thing is a there some "magical screen" that keeps the smoke from coming over to the non-smoking side?
Would you like it if I sat beside you and farted the whole time? No you wouldn't, because it's OFFENSIVE! At least farts don't give you cancer.


Article Comment SNM commented at 10/5/2009 12:38:00 PM:

Ban smoking!! Did you know the WHOLE state of Georgia is smoke-free? It has been for a while now. We're a little behind the times here, Columbus! Get with it!! It reminds me of other events in the past when Mississippi was behind the times...
The whole smoking/non-smoking section thing is a there some "magical screen" that keeps the smoke from coming over to the non-smoking side?
Would you like it if I sat beside you and farted the whole time? No you wouldn't, because it's OFFENSIVE! At least farts don't give you cancer.


Article Comment JC commented at 10/6/2009 5:24:00 PM:

At least farts don't give you cancer.

Mine do. I fart dioxin.


Article Comment slick commented at 10/8/2009 8:20:00 AM:

The taxes smokers pay help support our government,schools and whatever else our politicians can find that need money,wht are you non-smokers doing for our government?Bitching?


Article Comment Greg commented at 10/8/2009 11:38:00 PM:

We need to have a smoking ban here in Columbus. It was nice living in Georgia and being able to walk into any conveinence store and not be accosted by cigarette smoke as you paid for your gas, not having to breathe the smoke as you walked into Walmart or other stores where patrons and employees stood outside the doors smoking. Smoking might not be so bad for non-smokers if smokers actually thought about the people around them, but most don't. But they sure get mad when you talk about changing their habits. I saw it in the military when public smoking (common areas) was addressed. Nobody says that anybody has to stop smoking, just stop doing it around people that don't. I wish smokers would stop looking at non-smokers like we are the ones that have a problem because we don't like inhaling their smoke. I applaud a restaurant that actually makes a separate section for smokers, if it's a closed room. Room dividers do not work. The smoke goes everywhere. But not everyone is going to spend the money to make rooms like that with the proper ventilation. If they ban smoking and you smokers don't want to go to those establishments anymore, that's ok, business owners do no worry about that. You'll have plenty of new customers that will take their places, probably more than you had before the ban. It's the old way of thinking that keeps this city from growing. One day I see this city looking like Reform or Gordo, just a place that people pass thru enroute to somewhere else, unless the city starts thinking forward and not backward.


Article Comment five-o commented at 10/9/2009 6:34:00 AM:

get a life greg


Article Comment Jim commented at 10/10/2009 4:06:00 PM:

Ask the SMOKERS of towns with smokeing bans what they think about not being able to smoke at the bars..I know several people who refuse to go to the bars there and chose to come to Columbus instead, same with the resturants.But I do see a need to seperate smokers and non smokers inside of resturants."Seperate" being the key word not ban.I respect non smokers choice not to smoke all im asking is that you respect mine.


Article Comment JC commented at 10/12/2009 12:54:00 PM:

Jim, do you respect my choice to fart carcinogenic dioxin in your presence? I don't have to do it, but I really really like doing it and I don't want to stop just because it might give you cancer. After all, it should be my choice whether or not you get cancer.


Article Comment Greg commented at 10/14/2009 8:39:00 PM:

Typical response from a smoker Five-O. If you want to inhale smoke, become a fireman. Then you could contribute to the community. Smoking is a dirty, nasty habit. I wish that cigarettes and cigars would just be banned all together. I'd be happy to move back to Georgia as soon as I can and leave this lousy state and crappy town in my rear view mirror! trust me, I can't wait to leave this place.


Article Comment five-o commented at 10/15/2009 6:47:00 AM:

Greg, Can I buy you a one way ticket? What makes Georgia such a better place? Still smokers there


Article Comment Greg commented at 10/15/2009 7:51:00 PM:

Thanks for the offer Five-0 but I'm afraid I'll need more than a one way ticket to leave town, unfortunately. Hmmm, what makes Georgia a better place? Have you been there? If so, then you should have half of your questions answered. Georgia has a statewide smoking ban and I have never heard about any business going belly up because of it. You can walk in a convenience store and not be enveloped by cigarette smoke. I feel sorry for the kids that have to put up with that. If Mississippi would finally vote in a State Lottery then they could help make themselves a better state by putting the profit towards education like Georgia does. How's that for starters?


Article Comment A commented at 10/16/2009 3:29:00 PM:

Hey Five-o I'll help you out with that one way ticket. We don't need people coming here and talking about how much better their previous state is. If it was so good then why are you here? Hey Greg, why don't you go to town hall meetings and make a name for yourself instead of trolling these posts and making uninformed comments! So we use gambling to fund education, what does that teach our kids? Plus we already live in a statistically poor state. A lottery will make this state look even worse when everybody is broke because of smoking and pouring money in to the state lottery in hopes of one day striking it rich.


Article Comment Greg commented at 10/16/2009 10:02:00 PM:

To A, I'm not interested in making a name for myself in this town. I only came here because my job brought me here. As soon as an opportunity presents itself, myself and my family will be long gone from here. I'm not making uninformed posts. I'm telling you what I have seen and what I have experienced. This state will always be poor and poorly educated. I need to right by my kids and get them out of here before they get dumbed down. Although they are holding their own for now. One of my daughters was the ONLY 4th grader in her school to get straight A's. I attribute that to her earlier learning and study habits that she attained while in Georgia!


Article Comment A commented at 10/16/2009 10:42:00 PM:

Greg, I can't fault you about the lack of school rigor here in Columbus. However, you came here for a job which means Mississippi is offering you more than Georgia, wouldn't you say?


Article Comment B commented at 10/20/2009 11:15:00 AM:

"The two city council members who pushed for a law, Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan Mackay and Ward 3 Councilman Gene Coleman, were both voted out of office this year."

Nuff said!


Article Comment Greg commented at 10/20/2009 8:06:00 PM:

A... Mississippi didn't offer me the job. My job here was a result of BRAC closing the operation at Moody AFB, Georgia and moving it here to Columbus,AFB. It was either look for something new or follow it here. So I did, for now anyways. To B, one day there will be new folks as council here in Columbus and they will make the change.


Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 11/14/2009 8:36:00 PM:

Lets not just stop at a smoking ban. I think we should ban City Councilmen who use their position to waste the taxpayers dime to promote their own personal preferences. What about it Gavin??

Lets ban some other stuff too. I think we should ban (if we can get the CC to do something other than worry about smoking) pot holes. And people who wear their pants down below the crack of their ass. And people who park in handicap parking spaces without the proper sticker to do so. And bagging leaves in plastic bags all the while you are talking out the other side of your face about "recycling". And city traffic lights that are no where near in sync. And ditches that flood out people yards/homes and grow skeeters.

Let me know when you get all of these taken care of Mr. City Councilman and I'll work up another list for you.


Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 11/15/2009 6:40:00 AM:

Mr. Gavin, I don't know where you got your facts about smoking, but you either cannot read very well or you are a liar.

Smoking kills approx. 1/2 million people per year. While it is true it causes all kinds of medical problems, the fact is it is thought only 3000 people die yearly from second hand smoke, and this doesn't even take into consideration other factors, such as, air pollution.

Also of interest here is the fact you didn't mention alcohol consumption and the problems it causes. Do you drink Mr. Gavin?

Alcohol kills approx. 100,000 per year in the US. It breaks down like this:
5% of deaths by circulatory disease
15% of deaths by respiratory disease
30% of all deaths by fire
30% of all accidental drownings
30% of all suicides
40% of all deaths by falls
45% of all deaths in automobiles
60% of all homicides

Mr. Gavin, it would appear you are trying to "blow smoke" at the citizens of this town with your "the sky is falling" concerns about second hand smoke.

Could it be this is more of a personal wish than that of a "concern for the children".

And again I will ask you: Do you drink Mr. Gavin??


Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 11/17/2009 6:17:00 AM:

Greg, you are beating your head against a rock. These people in this town don't want to know about "another way." They have lived like this for decades and would rather continue on doing the same things that don't work than to ever allow someone from the "outside" tell them anything. They are only choking themselves and don't have the good sense to realize it.

I've lived in other places too, and I see what they don't. Once I realized they didn't want to hear about it, I became content in watching them run themselves off the road.

This smoking thing is a great example of it. They think it will matter, and it won't. It won't improve the city one bit, and they're more than happy to spend all their time and energy on it when there are "bigger fish to fry" in a manner of speaking.

In short Greg, the people here like to watch the hole instead of the donut.


Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 11/17/2009 6:19:00 AM:

Uh, Mr. Gavin, you're being might quiet.


Article Comment Bubba Gump commented at 11/17/2009 6:21:00 AM:

Uh, Mr. Gavin, you're being mighty quiet.


Article Comment jojo commented at 2/10/2010 1:45:00 PM:

This is a bandwagon I'm glad to jump on.Yes I am a smoker,but I consider my self to be a courteous one,I make sure I am not in close distance to anyone entering or leaving a building,I am always considerate of any who seem to go out of their way to pass by me and move an even further distance away,never do I put out a ciggarette on the ground and leave it .With that being said as you non smokers continue to complain about smokers and your allergic reactions to it along with the second hand smoke complaints think about these complaints I also have.I have yet to hear a single complaint about the advertisement of alcohol on television ,magazines,bilboards ,etc as all tobacco ads have been banned.Why is that ?alcoholisim in teens is at an epidemic level,and I'm pretty sure does as much if not more to the body as smoking.If I get in my car and smoke it doesnt impair my driving as having a few beers would do ,those that do put yours and my life at risk it seems all you people who worry about smokers should put your energy there . And as for allergic reactions do you have any idea how many people are allergic to perfume and cologne so as you walk into a resturaunt angry that you had to pass thru the smell of smoke think about how many people are becoming ill due to your perfume so while we're at it lets ban the use of all perfumes and cologn in public places also


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