Wayne County Board Approves Smoking Ban

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 5:00 pm

By JIM MILLER jmiller@fltimes.com

LYONS — Despite objections from several of its members, the Wayne County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban tobacco and e-cigarette use on county property.

Board Chairman James Hoffman said the three members who opposed the local law, Kenan Baldridge, David Spickerman and Michael Kolczynski, expressed concerns about its enforcement and government overreach. Hoffman himself favored it. Where’s the story? 1 Points Mentioned Five residents spoke in favor of the law at the hearing that preceded the vote.

“I just think the issue is, you’ve got to protect people from secondhand smoke, and this law would do that,” Hoffman said.

The law cites the health hazards of tobacco.

“[T]he need to breathe air free of the disease-causing toxins in secondhand smoke should have priority over the desire and convenience of smoking on real property owned or leased by the County,” it states.

In extending the ban to e-cigarettes, the law cites preliminary studies suggesting that many brands contain toxic chemicals and carcinogens. It also points to the lack of regulation by the Food and Drug Administration and the unknown long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.

“When consumed in public places where traditional tobacco products are banned, the use of E-cigarettes causes fear, stress and confusion among patrons and workers alike,” the law states. “E-cigarettes also seriously compromise the county’s current public health laws governing indoor smoking bans and create an enforcement ‘nightmare’ by forcing officials to distinguish between E-cigarettes and traditional nicotine delivery devices.”

In addition to county-owned or county-leased property, the ban applies to county-owned vehicles and private vehicles being used for a county purpose, and within 25 feet of the entrance to any county-owned or county-leased building.

Use of tobacco and e-cigarettes is still allowed in private vehicles on county property if all the doors and windows are completely closed and the vehicle is not engaged in county service. It also remains legal on roads and rights-of-way that are part of the county’s road system, and in public parks outside of pavilions.

Violators face fines of up to $200 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

The law goes into effect 20 days after adoption.

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