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Board discusses smoking ban

JACKSON — Don’t light that cigarette up near a county building.

The Northampton County Board of Commissioners sent that message as they approved the 2009 Board of Health Smoking Resolution.

A resolution will make all county owned buildings, specifically the J.W. Faison Administrative Complex, tobacco free.

At a recent meeting the commissioners approved the 2009 Board of Health Smoking Resolution as well as discussed the possibility of banning smoking in county vehicles.

Brought before the commissioners by Health Director Sue Gay, the resolution strongly urged the commissioners to make all county owned buildings tobacco-free, including areas within 50 feet of the Health Department building.

Gay said the resolution is not a law, but rather a self-enforced rule.

She noted the health risks related to secondhand smoke, which can cause diseases and even early death.

The commissioners spoke briefly about possibly putting a more concrete ordinance in effect that would ban smoking around county owned buildings and even county owned vehicles.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins told the board he would bring more information back at a later date.

In 2007, the General Assembly passed a bill prohibiting smoking in state owned, leased or occupied buildings. The bill left local governments to regulate smoking in buildings and vehicles owned, leased or occupied under their authority.