The Hancock County Board of Health has voted to amend their current smoking ban in public places, which affects Mountaineer Casino & Racetrack and limited video lottery cafes.

John Plesa, a member of Hancock County Health Board, brought forth the item to be voted on because he says this will have economic benefits and compete with nearby casinos like Wheeling Island and the Meadows. “This does have an economic side to it because the county commission receives a percentage of whatever revenue is generated by these facilities. It is a very narrowly tailored exception.”

A motion was passed Tuesday evening at the Board of Health meeting to allow smoking in those places effective immediately. The health officer Dr. Anna Suray said she was in quote “total disagreement” with the decision. “The least in my mind is worrying about whether or not a casino has smokers on the floor. Like in my mind we’re suppose to be focused on: we don’t want exposure of second-hand smoke because we know the health dangers of that.”

Local residents voiced their concerns over the amendment. One health and fitness coach at Oak Glen High School Rance Everly says his wife could be a potential danger to his family. “She has to work in this environment and come home to my 10 month old daughter, and when she comes home to her 10 month old daughter with third hand smoke all over her, she’s not going to be able to hug her own daughter until she takes a shower and changes her clothes and washes her hair or my daughter will be exposed to the third hand smoke.”

Carolyne Baker says, “This is a free country so people have the right to smoke, but they do not have the right to injure others. Is stepping outside really too much to ask?”

After the vote was over, Dr. Suray voiced her concerns about the new health board members and resigned from her position at the end of the meeting. “Because this is very different to me obviously than from the previous members of the board that I’ve serviced with.”

Now it is up to the individual businesses to decide whether they will allow smoking on their premises.

7News has reached out to Mountaineer Casino and Racetrack about the new change and whether they will allow smoking, and we will continue to keep you updated when we hear back.