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Smoking ban in Bruce

(C.J. LeMaster, WTVA)
(C.J. LeMaster, WTVA)
Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 12/05/2013 8:26 pm
BRUCE, Miss. (WTVA) — Joan Claunch of Bruce is a smoker who moved there from the Memphis, Tenn., area.

She says a smoking ban approved this month by the Board of Aldermen does not rattle her at all as long as it's not taken too far.

"When they start telling me that I can't smoke in my car, that's when we're going to have a problem," Claunch said while standing outside a Bruce tobacco store.

We found one other smoker who seemed resigned to the fact that maybe the new ordinance is a sign he should drop the habit altogether.

"Really, I need to quit. That's all I have to say. So maybe it'll help me," said Kenny Oliver as he pumped gas at a Bruce convenience store.

"I'm not against smokers. Some of the best friends I have are smokers," said Mayor Rudy Pope. 

Pope says he and aldermen have moved to outlaw most smoking in town for a number of reasons.

"Eighty percent of the people in Mississippi don't smoke. So the 20 percent that do, we just want them to be considerate of those people," Pope continued.

The Bruce smoking ban outlaws smoking in just about every public building and in parks, which includes the town square.

Most businesses are included as well.

There is a 20-foot no-smoking zone for the businesses where the mayor hopes smokers will be far enough away so that others can avoid secondhand smoke. 

Pope says the ordinance will not affect those who smoke at home.

"We just want to control places where other people have to come in, and if they don't smoke, we don't want them to have to breathe secondhand smoke," Pope continued.

The smoking ban does not go into effect for about another 30 days, and according to the mayor, most people in Bruce support the move.

Mayor Pope says that a first-offense smoking ban violation will cost the offender $100.

A second offense comes with a $200 fine; a third prompts a $500 fine. 

He adds the city wants to avoid those hefty fines if possible and might even provide counseling services.
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