All Mississippians have the right to live, work, study, and play in smoke-free environments. To ensure this, laws and policies have been implemented to make our communities smoke-free. These laws cover a variety of areas, including those less than twenty feet away from entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited. This is to prevent tobacco smoke from entering these areas and protect people from the health risks associated with second-hand smoke.
Numerous studies have found that tobacco smoke contributes greatly to indoor air pollution and that breathing second-hand smoke (also known as ambient tobacco smoke) can cause illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and lung cancer. Even occasional exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful according to the Surgeon General's report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease. This report also states that low levels of exposure to second-hand smoke cause a rapid and abrupt increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and strokes. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reviewed eleven studies that concluded that communities see an immediate reduction in admissions for heart attacks following the implementation of comprehensive anti-smoking laws. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the risk of acute myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease associated with exposure to tobacco smoke is not linear at low doses, but increases rapidly with relatively small doses.
Business owners have no legal or constitutional right to expose their employees and customers to the toxic chemicals in second-hand smoke. During periods of active smoking, maximum and average levels of outdoor tobacco smoke (OTS) measured in cafés and patios of outdoor bars and restaurants near smokers rival indoor tobacco smoke concentrations. Following an evaluation of the health hazards of Las Vegas casino employees' exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace, which included indoor air quality testing and biomarker evaluations, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded that casino employees are exposed to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke at work and that their bodies absorb high levels of specific tobacco chemicals, NNK and cotinine, during work shifts. Studies that measure cotinine (metabolized nicotine) and NNAL (metabolized nitrosamine NNK, a specific carcinogen in tobacco related to lung cancer) in hospitality workers have demonstrated that the levels of these biomarkers are drastically reduced after the entry into force of an anti-smoking law. More and more Mississippi cities vote to quit smoking every year, recognizing the value it brings to residents and visitors. The owner, manager, operator or employee of an area regulated by this law will order the person who smokes in violation of this law to turn off the product being smoked.