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Expanded smoking ban proposed in Ohio County

Updated: Thursday, March 27 2014, 06:33 PM EDT

By: Crissy Clutter and NEWS9


A controversial smoking ban went into effect nine years ago in Ohio County; now some officials would like to expand that ban.

Dr. William Mercer, Ohio Countys health officer, says there are still people being exposed to hazardous secondhand smoke in Ohio County.

Mercer would like members with the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department to think again about trying to expand the county's health ban. He tried unsuccessfully in 2011 after the public spoke out.

Back in 2005, when we made our changes, half the battle was trying to educate people that secondhand smoke was bad, but we have come past that, said Mercer.

He says he would like to do away with the exemptions for the casino, video gambling parlors and video gaming areas inside bars. Mercer would also like to prohibit smoking 20 feet outside doorways of buildings, on government-owned property, and at parks.

At a regular health board meeting on Tuesday, Mercer said that Hancock County's health board is planning to discuss a smoking ban. He also says Pennsylvania may be looking to strengthen its ban.

So if Hancock is looking at it and Pennsylvania and the Meadows casino are looking at it, then it's an opportunity for us to look at it again, said Mercer. It's been tabled since 2011 but maybe we should look at it again.

The issue was tabled this time around, but Mercer says he hopes to bring it up again when the board of health meets in a couple months.

Expanded smoking ban proposed in Ohio County

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