Given what we have seen from the smoke-free regulations in Maryland, our West Virginia neighbors in Mineral County will find an improved quality of life — and health — by following the Free State’s example.
The Mineral County Board of Health is proposing an amendment to the Mineral County Clean Indoor Air Regulation of 2006 that would make the entire county 100 percent smoke-free, according to A.J. Root, administrator with the Mineral County Health Department.
As Root pointed out, many West Virginia counties are moving to a smoke-free environment, eliminating indoor smoking in all public and private places of employment and in any business that offers goods or service to the public. The county also would eliminate outdoor smoking in public places in areas where youth are located, such as baseball fields, stadiums, arenas, public gathering areas and playgrounds.
When Maryland passed a law several years ago to ban smoking in restaurants and clubs, some people balked, saying their individual rights were being violated. But the law has hardly turned out to be the demon some feared. We believe most restauranteurs and their customers will acknowledge they have no desire to go back to the days of cigarette and cigar smoking by patrons.
Mineral County’s proposal to ban smoking had its first reading at the Board of Health meeting last month. The next step is a meeting to hear public comment. The board will meet Aug. 14 at 4 p.m. at the health department and will likely accept public comment then. Additionally, the public can also drop off written comments to the health department or can mail them to the Mineral County Health Department located at Route 3, Box 3045, Harley O. Staggers Drive, Keyser, WV 26726. Public comments can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A copy of the proposed regulation can be viewed on the Health Department website at www.mineralcountyhealthdepartment.com or a copy can be picked up at the Health Department.
Once the comment period is over, we urge the county to move quickly to adopt the smoke-free regulations.