By Kiera Morgan
Lincoln County Health and Human Services Department’s Public Health Division proposed to the Board of Commissioners that there should be an extension of the County’s current Smoke Free Policies and County Code provisions. If approved this would make all county properties completely Tobacco free. During the board of commissioners meeting it was pointed out that Lincoln County has the highest rate of Tobacco usage in the State. Samantha Schafer a heath education specialist with Lincoln County public health explained what they would like to change the current policy to include county parks and eliminate designated smoking areas at the courthouse.
Currently the policy for the county includes all smoking devices such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes and electronic nicotine devices. Changes proposed would also add smokeless tobacco. Public health personnel did a survey of county employees and received a fifty percent response. From the responses back about 70 percent said they would be in favor of strengthening current policies. However there were also those who responded saying they did not want more of government regulating what someone can and cannot do. The Board is seeking public comments on the proposal. The Board will take this matter up again on Wednesday on July 19 at 9:30 in their regular meeting at the Courthouse. Those wanting to submit comments or get more information can go online to the county website http://co.lincoln.or.us/boc/page/tobacco-free-county-properties