Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 6, 2014

Mineral health department begins enforcement of smoking ordinance

Initial outreach educational, says administrator

KEYSER W.Va. — The Mineral County Health Department has begun the initial process of checking businesses to see if they are complying with the smoking ban and are working to help them establish an outdoor smoking area. There have been some misconceptions about who enforces the ordinance and how it’s enforced, said A.J. Root, health department administrator.

“The health department is doing compliance checks during health department hours and after health department hours,” said Root. “At first we are going to begin with a more educational approach. The main goal is health and well-being of the community.”  

Compliance checks are done by the health officer or his designee and entail ensuring that “No Smoking” signs are posted and ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia are removed from areas were smoking is prohibited, according to Root. The health department gave out 600 notices of the regulation along with “No Smoking” signs.

The outdoor smoking area is required to be located 15 feet or more from any entrance, exit or ventilation units of any buildings or areas where smoking is prohibited, according to the regulations. The outdoor smoking areas can only have one wall for wind break, according to Root.

The Loyal Order of the Moosein in Keyser, which became smoke free on June 1, has a designated outdoor smoking area but it doesn’t meet the 15-foot regulation, according to John Haines, Moose administrator. The Moose plans to build an outdoor smoking area with a wall and roof around the corner of the building where the parking lot is located. Root and John DelSignore, a registered sanitarian for environmental health, have looked at the proposed location for the new outdoor smoking area and offered advice on what could and couldn’t be done, according to Haines.

In April, the Moose voted in favor of going smoke free effective June 1.

The Mineral County Clean Air Regulation of 2013 went into effect Oct. 1, but the Board of Health voted to extend the date of compliance for businesses to Jan. 2.

Any business that didn’t receive the regulation or “No Smoking” signs can pick them up at the health department or call 304-788-1321.

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

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