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Madison Aims To Ban Tobacco Use On County Property

By Expert Author: Bernard Fowler

Madison County authorities work over seroius new rules to ban tobacco use on county properties. The idea of implementation of new tobacco policy was proposed by County Commission Chairman Dale Strong who said it should be introduced long ago. "If you come to the courthouse to get into this facility, you have to walk through a smoking court to come in to pay your taxes, to get your tag for your vehicle," he said.

Smoking is already prohibited inside county buildings but Strong asked members of the commission to spread that ban to county vehicles and outdoor zones, including the well known smokers' refuge on the porch just outside the county courthouse. Strong said that smoke comes in offices through ventilation system and blows it throughout the courthouse, therefore it is infringing on others' rights

The proposed ban touches not only cigarettes. Tobacco products, whether it's smoking, whether it's dipping, smokeless tobacco, we've had instances where employees have had other products dumped on them. We want to eliminate this. The new initiative against tobacco use received a dim reception from smokers at the courthouse.

Smoker Reighnettia Coop says it is unfair because people need to smoke, "People be nervous when they come to court and folks want to come outside and get their little couple hits in before they go in there. I'm out here smoking because I'm nervous. I need my cheap cigarettes."
In his turn, Dr. Lawrence Robey, Madison County Health Office says smoking ban is a good idea. . "One of the problems you have with second hand smoke is, yes, you can get it outside the buildings but with people standing around outside, you open the door and the air currents waft the smoke back in to the building, plus you have problems with debris and littering."

Strong admitted Madison County may be behind otherplaces such as Huntsville Hospital or the city of Huntsville, which have already prohibited tobacco use on their premises. "This is something that's already occurred in other cities, the state," he said. "We're a little delayed in getting to the process but I think it's a policy that will be good for the people of Madison County."

Strong hoped to have the rough proposal for a tobacco ban fleshed out into a concrete ordinance the county commission can consider within about 8 weeks.

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