Cumberland Times-News

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July 9, 2013

VFW tries to snuff out ban

Smoke-free county ‘would cut business’

KEYSER, W.Va. — About 100 members of the Nancy Hanks Post No. 3518 Veterans of Foreign Wars have signed a petition in opposition of the proposed amendment to the Mineral County Clean Indoor Air Regulation of 2006, which would make the county smoke-free, according to Paul Mcilwee, quartermaster.

“The smoking ban would cut business in half or more,” said Mcilwee. “People like to stop in here after work and have beer and a cigarette.”

The VFW donates thousands of dollars annually to various local and school-sponsored activities, according to the letter urging members to sign the petition.

“Our veterans fought for everyone's freedom and now you're trying to take this freedom from them,” said the letter. “Please reconsider the ban on bars and fraternal organizations. If an individual establishment prefers to be nonsmoking, they should have the freedom to do so.”

The VFW is a fraternal organization where everyone admitted is required to purchase a membership card and is aware smoking is permitted, according to the letter.

The VFW has been around for 77 years and has always allowed smoking inside and out, according to Mcilwee.

The proposed regulation, known as the Mineral County Clean Air Regulation of 2013, would repeal and replace the current Mineral County Clean Indoor Air Regulation, according to the Mineral County Health Department’s website.

The proposed regulation will eliminate indoor smoking in all public and private places of employment and in any business offering goods or services to the public, whether to give away or sell.

Officers of the VFW plan to contact other fraternal organizations in the area to sign the petition and plan to attend the Aug. 14 board of health meeting where they will present the petition.

If the proposed amendment passes, Mineral County will become the 24th county in West Virginia to become smoke-free.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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