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County OKs no-smoking ordinance

June 10, 2016
Cody Benjamin - Register Staff Writer ( , Faribault County Register

The Faribault County Tobacco Free Grounds Policy is now in place, as the County Board passed a motion to enact the ordinance at its meeting Tuesday.

Dawn Fellows, the county's Central Services director, presented a draft of the policy, which advocates a tobacco- and smoke-free environment on specified county properties. And a motion by Commissioner John Roper, seconded by Commissioner Greg Young, carried the policy into effect.

The ordinance, citing principles from the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, designates the County Courthouse complex, Law Enforcement Center, Public Works and all other county-owned vehicles, offices and shelter sites within park/campground systems as tobacco free, "meaning that smoking of any kind ... and the use of chewing tobacco"?is prohibited in those areas.

Roper acknowledged the potential drawbacks of the new restrictions, particularly in areas like the sidewalks surrounding the courthouse.

"The reality is that 14 percent of people in Minnesota smoke,"?he said, "and some of those people are in law enforcement, are lawyers."

But Roper, like his fellow commissioners, also agreed that only a consensus among the board would ensure the implementation of the policy's advocacy for public health.

Commissioner Tom Loveall had his own supportive input.

"I don't think we're way out in left field with this," he said, clarifying that the policy will largely be self-enforced.

The Tobacco Free Grounds Policy, which calls for the dissemination of new signage and the gradual discontinuation of receptacles, includes three exceptions, permitting tobacco use in county parks and campgrounds and in private, enclosed vehicles parked in county-owned lots.



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