Smoking Ban, Pro and Con

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Meridian is one of six Mississippi cities in which the American Cancer Society has decided to pursue smoking bans in public places, but doing this has proven to be complicated.

On the trails at Bonita Lakes Park, a place where many health conscious people walk, run and just enjoy the great outdoors, smoking, is now prohibited.

"I think it's a very good idea. Smoke kills," said Meridian resident, Fu Yao Wang. "The woman cuts her lifespan by 12 years; the man cuts his lifespan by seven years."

Wang says he walks the trails to enhance his health and the establishment of a smoking ban in public places like parks, theaters and airports would be right on the money.

But even among health enthusiasts, a ban is not a simple matter. Don Rogers of Meridian also uses the trails to keep in shape.

"I certainly think the city has a right to control public areas, public buildings and everything," said Rogers. "Where the smoking doesn't offend, like outside, I think they could use their energies a little better in other places. I think we have enough laws and rules as it is and where they don't need any, it just makes things more complicated."

The men say one of the biggest problems with smoking bans at the local level, is the fact that cigarettes and tobacco are big business.

Wang says smoking itself as a problem for society. Rogers points out that smoking and the buying and selling of tobacco products is legal.