JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Having failed to persuade lawmakers to ban smoking in public places, the Mississippi State Medical Association now wants lawmakers to put the question to voters.
The association, which represents Mississippi’s 4,700 physicians, says it will gather petition signatures in doctors’ offices asking the 2015 Legislature to set a referendum.
It’s not a petition campaign to force an election on a state constitutional amendment, which would require more than 100,000 signatures of registered voters, but an effort to persuade lawmakers to call a vote on their own.
Indoor smoking bans have failed multiple times in the Mississippi legislature, although a number of cities have passed them.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control found that 24 percent of Mississippi adults are smokers, tied for the sixth-highest rate among the 50 states.