Citizens of Marshall, Mo., are discussing a possible ordinance restricting smoking in businesses and public areas.
At a Tuesday, Oct. 15 meeting, Breathe Easy Marshall, an organization of citizens, business owners and healthcare professionals, presented facts about secondhand smoke and findings from Missouri communities with smoke-free ordinances already in effect. The panel discussed the potential effects of a smoke-free policy on general health and local businesses.
Research aid Stan Cowan with the University of Missouri School of Medicine says secondhand smoke is a contributor for a number of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Cowan conducted a survey of Marshall’s air quality. That survey examined fine particulate matter and was shared with Tuesday’s meeting.
“Due solely to occupational exposure, a full-time employee in a Marshall public place that would allow smoking would be exposed to 140 percent of the EPA’s average annual daily limit for air pollution during an 8-hour work shift,” Cowan said.
According to Cowan, on average there is a 17 percent decline in hospitalizations for heart attacks within the first year after a community enacts a smoke-free ordinance.
The Marshall Democrat-News reports that Mayor Mark Gooden said a public vote on the issue would be a waste of resources. The town’s legal status as a “Third Class City” means public votes are non-binding, giving the city council the final say. It would cost the town $5,000 to conduct a vote.
The draft of a smoke-free ordinance has yet to be drafted for Marshall.