County right to consider expanded smoking ban

info@islandpacket.comApril 24, 2013 

Beaufort County administrator Gary Kubic is on the right track with his proposal to ban smoking on all county-owned property -- inside and outside.

Smoking bans increasingly are the rule rather than the exception. Many private employers have made the move, and there's no reason to think the county won't see the same benefits in healthier and more productive employees, lower health care costs and lower maintenance costs for county property.

Smoking inside most county buildings and county-owned vehicles is already prohibited. County employees must stand at least 25 feet from doors, windows and air vents when smoking outside.

Kubic cites tensions between smoking and non-smoking employees over breaks taken to light up. Those tensions can probably be handled short of an all-out smoking ban, but the potential productivity gains alone make it worth considering.

Because restrictions also would apply to the general public, County Council would have to sign off on them.

Beaufort County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville said he was wary of extending the ban to parks. But we anticipate people will adjust their behavior, and it almost certainly will make it easier and cheaper to maintain clean facilities .

Kubic has asked the county Alcohol and Drug Division to consider options, including whether certain county facilities, such as the jail, should be exempt and how to classify electronic cigarettes.

We look forward to seeing the proposed policy.

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