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Pasquotank may include park areas in tobacco, vaping ban

Philippines Smoking Ban-1

Pasquotank County of­fi­cials are ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of in­clud­ing county park ar­eas in a pro­posed county or­di­nance ban­ning the use of to­bacco and va­por prod­ucts in county build­ings, grounds and ve­hi­cles. The or­di­nance was on the agenda for a pos­si­ble vote when the Pasquotank Board of Com­mis­sion­ers met Mon­day night. How­ever, County At­tor­ney Mike Cox rec­om­mended com­mis­sion­ers not vote since only six of the seven board mem­bers were present.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Pasquotank County of­fi­cials are ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of in­clud­ing county park ar­eas in a pro­posed county or­di­nance ban­ning the use of to­bacco and va­por prod­ucts in county build­ings, grounds and ve­hi­cles.

The or­di­nance was on the agenda for a pos­si­ble vote when the Pasquotank Board of Com­mis­sion­ers met Mon­day night. How­ever, County At­tor­ney Mike Cox rec­om­mended com­mis­sion­ers not vote since only six of the seven board mem­bers were present. Com­mis­sioner Jeff Dixon was ab­sent from the meet­ing.

The board plans to re­visit the pro­posed or­di­nance at its Aug. 20 meet­ing, which also will give Cox time to dis­cuss with El­iz­a­beth City of­fi­cials the pos­si­bil­ity of in­clud­ing park ar­eas in the or­di­nance. Cox ex­plained Mon­day that the city of El­iz­a­beth City currently al­lows smok­ing at county parks and play­ground ar­eas. In or­der to be con­sis­tent, he said, the county also would need to ex­empt parks and play­grounds from the ban. That is, un­less the city agrees to a change in its pol­icy.

The board’s Spe­cial Pro­jects Com­mit­tee dis­cussed the pro­posed smok­ing ban in May. One of the fac­tors spurring the county’s con­sid­er­a­tion of the or­di­nance has been com­plaints about smok­ing out­side the court­house. The pro­posed or­di­nance would ban to­bacco use on court­house grounds but Cox noted that the side­walks ad­ja­cent to the court­house are not within the county’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

Lisa Phillips, the to­bacco-free liv­ing co­or­di­na­tor un­der Part­ner­ships to Im­prove Com­mu­nity Health, an ini­tia­tive work­ing with Albe­marle Re­gional Health Ser­vices, has noted that the cam­puses of Col­lege of The Albe­marle, Sen­tara Albe­marle Med­i­cal Cen­ter and lo­cal pub­lic schools are al­ready to­bacco-free.

Phillips has en­cour­aged the county to ed­u­cate the pub­lic about the or­di­nance, and to make it clear the or­di­nance is meant to pro­tect pub­lic health, not con­demn smok­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to state re­search Phillips has shared with county of­fi­cials, to­bacco use re­mains “the lead­ing cause of pre­ventable death and dis­ease” and con­trib­utes to the lead­ing causes of death in Pasquotank, in­clud­ing heart dis­eases, can­cer and res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases.

Staff Writer Jon Haw­ley con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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