SALTILLO, Miss. (WTVA) -- It's the most recent city in north Mississippi to propose a ban on smoking, and the possibility of that mobilized nearly fifty residents to attend a public meeting Tuesday night.
There, the board of aldermen opened the floodgates of public opinion for thirty minutes.
Pharmacist Jonathan Pharr was one of a dozen who spoke out.
"My child had a heart defect at birth. He can't help that, but if we go into a restaurant that has smoking split up, it hurts his breathing," Pharr said.
Others in the meeting made that point as well, that the ban at its core remains a health issue.
Opponents say it's about rights.
"In Utah, for instance, the first thing they did was ban smoking in public buildings, then in restaurants, then in bars," resident Nancy Nielsen said. "Then they said you can smoke outside, not within 25 feet of a building. No, you can't smoke on the streets at all. You can't smoke in your car if there's children in your car. You can't smoke in your home if there's children in your home."
In essence, Nielsen said it becomes a slippery slope.
Alderman Brad Woodcock said he doesn't think it'll be a huge change for residents in the city of Saltillo because most of the restaurants don't allow smoking.
However, he says the goal isn't to alienate businesses that do.
"It's not that we're trying to take something away from business owners or citizens of Saltillo with a ban," Woodcock said. "We're offering the people in Saltillo an opportunity to have clean air, better health."
For now, no ban is in place. Aldermen tabled the issue by unanimous vote.
"Certainly the issue is not decided and all of the ideas are on the table, and the board will discuss all of the options and at some point come to a conclusion," Saltillo Mayor Bill Williams said.
Alderwoman Jewell Webb suggested a nonbinding referendum during the meeting to allow the public to vote on the possibility of a smoking ban.
Williams said the matter is a decision that the board should be entrusted to make.