POINT PLEASANT — After a comment period in which only one letter of opposition was received, the Mason County Board of Health has unanimously passed the Clean Air Regulation of 2016.
This means the board repealed and replaced its indoor air regulation from 2001 with this new version which eliminates smoking in all public places and private places of employment as of July 1. The 2001 regulation only partially limited smoking in areas. In addition, smoking cannot occur within 20 feet of an entrance to those public places or private places of employment. This includes smoking cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes or “vaping” pens.
This new regulation will also trump the City of Point Pleasant’s “designated smoking areas” in some of its parks. This means no smoking at all in any public park anywhere in Mason County, as “designated smoking areas” will no longer exist.
Mason County Health Department Administrator Diana Riddle said the health department will provide free signage to business owners to display to make people aware of the new regulation. Riddle said one of the main focuses will be generating awareness as residents get used to this new regulation. The sanitarian at the health department will be the person who investigates any complaints about not complying with the regulation with again, an emphasis on just getting people aware of the regulation in the beginning. However, violators could eventually face court proceedings and/or fines.
The draft of the new regulation defines “public places” as:
1. All means of public transit including taxis and buses, and all areas, including ticket, boarding and waiting areas.
2. Public areas of aquariums, galleries, libraries and museums.
3. Child care and adult day care facilities.
4. Retail stores.
5. All restaurants, bars, gaming facilities and private clubs.
6. Every room, chamber, place of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings , under the control of any board, council, commission, committee, including joint committees or any political subdivision of the State.
7. All patient rooms, waiting rooms and other public areas in health facilities, including, but not limited to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, physical therapy facilities, doctors’ offices and dentists’ offices.
8. Enclosed shopping malls, including indoor flea markets.
9. Hotels and motels.
10. Lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in multi-unit apartment buildings, condominiums, manufactured home communities, retirement facilities, nursing, homes, and other multiple-unit residential facilities.
11. Any facility primarily used for exhibiting any motion picture, stage, drama, lecture, musical recital or other similar performance.
12. Sports arenas and convention halls, including bowling facilities.
13. Polling places.
14. Auction houses.
15. All fire department facilities.
16. All emergency medical services facilities
17. Bingo operations.
18. The draft of the proposed new regulation defines “outdoor public places” as:
19. Outdoor service lines, ticketing areas and boarding areas.
20. Concourse areas of stadiums and outdoor seating of recreational venues.
21. Outdoor serving areas of restaurants.
22. All outdoor property, including parking lots and sidewalks of healthcare facilities.
23. Public parks, including pavilions.
24. Playgrounds, golf courses, etc.
25. Fairs and Festivals.
The draft states, in any dispute arising under the regulation, the health concerns of the nonsmoker shall be given precedence.
In terms of where smoking is not regulated, the regulations states, “The following areas shall not be subject to the smoking restrictions of this Regulation — Private residences, including individual apartments or housing units which are part of a multi-unit residential housing project or apartment building, except when used as a child-care facility, adult care, foster care or other similar social care. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any person who controls any establishment described in this section may declare that entire establishment as a non-smoking facility.”
Riddle was to speak to the Mason County Commission today about the new regulation. Riddle said the regulation also had the support of the local mayors in the county.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.