21/05/2014

Huron County considers no-smoking policy

“I don’t think we want to go that far, according to what Steve said,” said Jodi Essenmacher, executive assistant to the board. “Just a policy.”

Steve Vaughan, county commissioner and properties chair, asked if the policy would apply to all county buildings — including the senior center, health department and MSU Extension. 

“We’d have to examine what our jurisdictions are,” Peruski said. 

The idea was originally brought up at the board of commissioners’ April 15 meeting. At the meeting, Vaughan asked if smoking would be disallowed in patrol cars for the police department and sheriff’s office.

“I know that there are officers that smoke, that they ride down the road and smoke,” said Vaughan, adding that he does not condone smoking but has “learned to respect smokers’ rights.”

Elftman said the policy should apply to the entire campus of all county buildings, and that police officers are “the first ones that should not be smoking.” 

Vaughan then asked if the county could develop a smoking cessation program. Gauloises Blondes Cream

“That’s not up to us,” Elftman said. “I smoked for years, and it’s not up to us. We can be concerned about their health, but as far as them smoking on this premises, they’re not supposed to smoke here. They know it, so, no smoking. If there’s any static, tell them to come see me.

“If they’re going to be smoking, go somewhere where they can smoke. We’ve got to take a stand on this.”

Setting aside a designated area for employees and residents to smoke outside the county building also has been considered. 

Both Tuscola and Macomb counties have ordinances in place that ban smoking on county property. 

Tuscola’s ordinance bans cigarette, pipe and cigar smoking and the use and sale of tobacco on all county property, including sidewalks, streets and parking lots. The ordinance does not prohibit smoking within private vehicles parked on county property or on county parklands. Violators are fined not more than $100 for a first violation and not more than $500 for a second violation. 

Macomb County’s ordinance bans smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes within 100 feet of all doors and windows of Macomb County government buildings. There is a $100 fine for first-time offenders, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third violation. 

Currently, Sanilac County does not have an ordinance prohibiting smoking, but its policy does not permit smoking in county-owned buildings and parking lots.

Michigan’s Smoke-Free Air Law, which took effect May 1, 2010, prohibits smoking in most public places, “including, but not limited too, restaurants, bars, shopping malls, bowling alleys, concert halls, arenas, museums, mechanic shops, health facilities, nursing homes, education facilities, and child care centers,” or in “private offices in a commercial work establishment.” Cigar bars, tobacco specialty retail stores and gaming floors of casinos may be granted exemptions under the law.

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