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Utah County enacts new smoke ban

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Jan. 12, 2011 at 7:04 p.m.



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PROVO -- Smoking in a public building has been illegal for years, but many people who want to smoke do so not far from the entrance of a building.

Wednesday, Utah County took a step to keep smokers from ever lighting up on county-owned property.

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"Enforcement is first about educating them about why we are making it smoke free, that it is for them," said Jen Tischler, tobacco program health educator.

County leaders found it ironic that the entrance to the county's health building was the most popular spot for people to gather to smoke. They say they were motivated to issue the policy change because of concern for infants, young children and the elderly, who come to the health building for immunizations or checkups.

The risk of lung cancer and health problems from second hand smoke also prompted the county commissioners to create a smoke free environment, at all county property.

Officials don't initially plan to enforce the smoking ban with a citation, but want people to think twice about smoking -- for others and for themselves.

"We've posted signs and are going to nicely tell people that we want to have no smoking here around the health department building and our other buildings," said Dr. Joseph Miner of the Utah County Health Department.

With the new rule in place, smokers Wednesday seemed to migrate across the street to light up.

Health officials say many of those who smoke at the health building are in the department's drug treatment program. They are hoping to help them not only beat their addiction to drugs, but help them stop smoking as well.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

Sam Penrod

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