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New Smoking Ban Proposed In Lewis County

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The Lewis County Board of Health wants to change existing rules so that smoking is not allowed almost anywhere public.

The current policy in Lewis County is relatively new itself, only in place since 2005. Smoking is already banned in public restaurants, but the new measure will extend that ban to any place of business in the entire county, including places like bars, where smoking was still allowed in some situations. The Department said the policy is looked at regularly, and this year was no different.

"Well, the board of health, they review the policy every year, and this year they decided to review it, and they're looking a little more closely at it," said Lewis County Health Department Sanitarian David Whittaker.

The board passed along their plans for a change to the Lewis County Commission who received the information at its weekly meeting Wednesday. Commissioner Agnes Queen noted the proposal even reaches outdoors, something she expects will cause mixed reactions.

"They also would include parks and playground and things of that nature, where people could not smoke on public property that's owned by taxpayers, so it would affect several people and several businesses, both good and bad," said Queen.

Although the proposed changes are new to the county, it's something that many surrounding areas have already taken steps to enact.

"It's just something that a lot of areas are adopting, or a lot of counties have adopted it. It's just to protect not only the public but the employees who are working there, and it's to make a healthier and cleaner environment for Lewis County citizens," said Whittaker.

The comment period for the proposed changes runs until just after the new year. You can fill out a form at the Health Department office in Weston, or send your comments to the board in writing.  The comment period ends January 5, 2013.