The newest set of smoking regulations takes effect in Ohio County on Tuesday. That means there will be no “smoking rooms” in hotels and motels, and no smoking in or around government buildings or vehicles.
Electronic cigarettes will be forbidden in all public buildings, just as regular cigarettes are. But the biggest change of all is no more stepping just outside your workplace to have a smoke. Smokers must move at least 20 feet away from every entrance, exit and ventilation unit. In town, where buildings are close, that leaves some smokers asking “where can I go to smoke?”
“Well we don’t want to be in a position to say here’s where they need to go. Because at that point we’re telling them, as a board of health, the county health department, that this is the area you need to go smoke. We also tell businesses it’s probably not in your best interest to say this is where you need to go. Because at that point you’re approving that that individual should go there and smoke,” said Howard Gamble, Ohio County Health Department Administrator.
Gamble says business owners have a decision to make, what to do with the “smoking urns” that are directly outside many buildings. He says they can either move them 20 feet out, or do away with them altogether. Gamble explained several years ago when one business went smoke-free, its employees were so angry they vowed to stand in the middle of the street and smoke. He says that option comes with some obvious dangers.
Again, the new rules go into effect Tuesday.