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Pike county bans smoking; County-owned facilities smoke-free

By Fritz Mayer
March 13, 2013

“Pike County is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace and campus to promote the health and well being of its employees and constituents and visitors,” and that was one of the reasons that, at the meeting on March 7, the Pike County Commissioners voted to ban smoking and the use of all tobacco products in all county-owned facilities effective immediately.

In Pennsylvania, in September 2008, smoking was banned by an amendment to the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibited smoking in all enclosed workplaces, with some exceptions including bars and restaurants. The Pike County ban expands that to include outside areas, such as parking lots, and will prevent employees or visitors from taking smoking breaks near the entrances of county buildings.

Deborah Albrecht, a community health educator, said the reason the resolution was being adopted now was because of a recent petition that circulated among county employees calling for a smoke-free workplace, which was forwarded to the commissioners. She said this might be a good time for county employees to consider kicking the habit, and that help in that area is available through the Pike County Tobacco Free Coalition, the Penn State Extension and the phone number 800-quit-now.

Several students from Delaware Valley High School were on hand as part of the student group Teens Against Tobacco Use and spoke about the dangers of second- and third-hand smoke. David Burns, who identified himself as a firefighter, said there are a lot of carcinogens or cancer-causing chemicals in smoke and they can be transported from the workplace to the home.

He said, “Even if an employee is not smoking but is around someone who is, these chemicals get on their clothing and they take the clothing home, and hug their children at night. They don’t realize but they’re transferring these chemicals to their children and their home.”

Debbie Brodhecker, also a community health educator, said, “We’re very pleased this policy is being enacted; we know it is going to cause some hardship for people, but there is help for people who want to quit and, overall, I think it’s going to be a whole lot healthier for people who come into county buildings and the employees who have to walk through clouds of smoke to get into the building will no longer be taking those chemicals into their homes.”