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franklin county times

November 8, 2004

By Staff
I think the Meridian City Council should let the public vote as to whether or not smoking should be banned from restaurants, businesses and bars. Being an open-minded person, I understand why the question of non-smoking has arrived. I can completely understand the no smoking in restaurants and businesses, but the thing that really gets to me is that you have to go into businesses and restaurants, but it is a choice to go into a bar. I look at it like this: If you don't want to smell cigarette smoke then don't go.
What about all these places that have grills in them like O'Charley's. Is the city council going to put a stop to all cooking due to the fact that someone may inhale a little smoke. If that is the case then my suggestion to you is to just go ahead and close all of the restaurants, fast food and bars. That way there is no smoke for anyone to inhale. Cooking smoke is just as harmful to your lungs as smoking a cigarette.
Michele Wayman – Enterprise
Who do members of the Meridian City Council think they are? Forcing a no-smoking policy on small businesses in Meridian has to be the epitome of arrogance. The thing that makes America great and allows our economy to flourish is a little thing called "free enterprise." That means as few government mandated controls as possible on businesses.
In this instance, it is a matter of choice. A business owner should have the right to make a choice as to whether he wants to allow people to smoke on his property. At the same time, a citizen has the right to make a choice to either patronize that establishment or to go to a competitor.
It should not be the choice of Bobby Smith, Barbara Henson or Mary Perry to decide what a business can or can not do on his property. This is a sad time for Meridian, Mississippi. Does the name George Orwell come to mind?
Johnny Dean – Meridian
Thank you, Bobby Smith. Thank you, Barbara Henson. Thank you, Mary Perry. Thank you so much for having the courage to take a stand against the second-hand smoke that is harming the public. I'm waiting anxiously for this ordinance to complete the process and take effect.
One question. Why do we need a public discussion to talk about something so harmful? What good would it do to ask a drunk driver to stay off the road because his actions will harm others? None. Nothing can be accomplished by asking sweetly. Most smokers couldn't care less how their actions are affecting other people. They just want their right to smoke. This is an issue that must be legislated in order for anything to be accomplished.
And to the business establishments who are speaking out against the ordinance, why would you want to allow an activity in your place of business that's literally costing you customers? It's killing them! Any business I see in opposition to this ordinance will lose my patronage and I hope that of other non-smokers.
Please, Mr. Mayor, do what's necessary to protect the public by signing the ordinance. We're not going to get anywhere by asking the offending parties what they want to do.
Ron Coleman – Meridian
The Smokefree Air Act that the city council has passed has made it very easy for me to decide to not go out to eat or go to a bar. There are some smoke-free restaurants in Meridian already. Those places I already will not go to. That is my choice as a smoker.
One of the reasons I love Mississippi is the freedoms we enjoy compared to other states. If this ordinance stands I will choose to grill out, invite friends over, drink at home and smoke at home. No problem. I will save a lot of money that I currently spend in town. Hopefully the county will not follow suit, and there will be some place I can go to have a cup of coffee, a cigarette and relax like I like to do. If not, well, I make pretty good coffee.
So if the Meridian City Council wants to reduce the business done in its establishments by running off smoking customers, more power to them.
Arlene Coleman – Meridian
Thumbs up to Meridian City Council members Bobby Smith, Barbara Henson and Mary Perry for supporting the Smokefree Air Act; thumbs down to George Thomas and Jessie Palmer for voting against it. And it is shame on Mayor John Robert Smith if he vetoes the ordinance.
The economic impact to a business due to non-smoking is none, unless non-smokers frequent these businesses more often because the air is cleaner and less offensive.
Smoker's rights? Let them smoke, but now the offensive smell and the health threat of having to breathe secondhand smoke will not be a plague to non-smokers at the public places to be covered by the Smokefree Air Act.
Non-smoking areas presently provided in public places are inadequate. Smoking causes cancer and respiratory problems it's written on the pack.
John Mimbs – Toomsuba

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