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Brooke County considering 100 percent smoking ban

Updated: Thursday, September 4 2014, 05:26 PM EDT
BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va.– Not long after Hancock County went to a 100 percent smoking ban, its neighbors to the south are considering following suite.
Since 2005 in the county, restaurants and bars in Brooke County have been required to designate at least 25 percent of their business for smoking, but that could soon go up in smoke. The county board of health wants to 100 percent nonsmoking.
"It’s a little more strict guideline, basically to where smoking would be prohibited inside any indoor area,” said Michael Bolen, Brooke County Health Department environmental supervisor.
One reason for the consideration is an independent study ranked Brooke County 55th -- last in West Virginia -- as far as physical environment.
"One of the things public health can do is look at clean indoor regulation and make stricter policy to bring up our ranking in that area," Bolen said.
Another reason is Hancock County recently passed its smoking ban, which includes restaurants, bars, casinos, and public places.
"We share Weirton with Hancock County, and it just makes sense that we have the same type of regulation so there's no confusion there," Bolen said.
Owners of video lottery casinos in Brooke County say prohibiting smoking would hurt business. But on the other hand, some restaurants in the county have voluntarily gone smoke-free already.
"Seventy-five percent of the population of Brooke County doesn’t smoke so you only have 25 percent that does,” Bolen said. “So you have a lot more clientele that could possibly come to your business if smoking is regulated."
There will be a meeting for the public coming up sometime in October where residents will be able to voice their opinion. The board is also looking into placing regulations on parks and places where activities are held for kids.

Brooke County considering 100 percent smoking ban

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