Athletes and spectators attending Mississippi youth sporting events will now enjoy smokefree air, thanks to recent legislation.
The new law, passed in the 2010 session and signed by Governor Haley Barbour, prohibits smoking within 100 feet of a facility where people under age 18 are participating in athletic events. It also prohibits smoking at indoor youth sporting events.
“Everyone deserves to breathe smokefree air,” said Sue Mashburne, director of the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Grenada, Yalobusha, and Calhoun counties. “This new law protects kids and adults who attend youth sporting events from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.”
The law took effect on July 1 and imposes warnings for first time offenders and fines on repeat offenders.
“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Five hundred and fifty Mississippi non-smokers die each year from secondhand smoke,” said Roy Hart, director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “While a comprehensive tobacco-free policy that includes spit tobacco would be even more effective, this new policy will offer protection from secondhand smoke for both children and adults who attend youth sporting events.”
“Exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome, ear problems and more severe asthma in children,” said Hart.
“Eliminating secondhand smoke at youth sporting events allows kids to focus on playing their game,” said Mashburne. “No one can be a good athlete while they are inhaling secondhand smoke.”
For more information on the dangers of secondhand smoke, call the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Grenada, Yalobusha, and Calhoun counties at 662-226-2589 or www.TobaccoFreeMS.org.