Lewis County Health Board Hears Comments On Smoking Ban - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Lewis County Health Board Hears Comments On Smoking Ban

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Lewis County residents had an opportunity to make their voices heard Wednesday about proposed new clean air regulations in the county.

The proposal would expand bans on public smoking to public areas inside and out, but not everyone likes the idea.

Lewis County residents met at the county's emergency squad building to give their comments on a newly proposed Clean Air Regulation. It's similar to a regulation passed in Greenbrier County, which restricts smoking in outdoor public spaces as well as businesses including bars.

Some people said that's taking away a choice that should be theirs.

"That should be your right. You're 21 years old to be able to go in that bar and drink, you should make the decision if you want to go in there or not," said Michael DeBarr, who spoke against the measure.

But many others support the changes, and for many different reasons. There's the obvious health risks, but some said keeping smoking out of public spaces is a benefit to tourism and the economy of the county, too.

"It's been shown in market after market, if we tolerate tobacco use in venues, we will miss out on even the appearances of some top artists. They just won't come to a place where there's tobacco use," said Eric Spelsberg of the West Virginia Jazz Society.

Board members didn't take any questions at the meeting Wednesday afternoon but said they'll accept more comments and answer questions they receive after the comment period ends next month.

The board said it wants to take the opinions of the county into account before making a final decision.

"Oh absolutely, very important. We want to weigh everybody's comments and we want to make a decision based on the whole community of Lewis County," said county sanitarian David Whittaker.

The Board of Health held a second meeting Wednesday night to provide another chance for people to comment.

The board will also accept written comments until January 5 and review them at its meeting on January 8.