Cigarettes To Go Up In Smoke At Health Dept.



Lighting up a cigarette at Whitley County’s Health Department facilities will be out of the question come Jan. 1, 2012, when its smoking ban takes effect.

The Whitley County Health Department will soon join the bandwagon, like Knox and Laurel County facilities, to extinguish smoking and the use of all tobacco products.

Laurel County Health Department became a smoke-free facility under the City of London smoking ban ordinance passed in 2009, and the Knox County Health Department implemented its own smoke-free policy this past January.

“We want to be a good example in the community because we are educating the community about the dangers of second-hand smoke and how exposure to it will affect your health,” said Kathy Lay, health educator for the Whitley County Health Department. “We want to be examples of that in our agency and reflect that we are changing our policies in our health department. We know how important it is to educate about the dangers of second-hand smoke, so we want to protect the health of anyone who comes to our health department.”

In a memo dated Aug. 18 released to the Times-Tribune that was distributed to health department employees, the Whitley County Board of Health approved the smoking and tobacco free policy at its board meeting on Aug. 15. The memo states, “In order to assist any employees adversely affected, we will again provide free Cooper-Clayton or other stop-smoking classes in October. These classes will be provided during work hours in order to assist those who desire to attend.”

Lay said there is currently about seven employees who are participating in the Cooper-Clayton program that is a 13-week cessation program as they wanted to start preparing their employees for the transition.

The policy states employees who violate this policy are subject to health department disciplinary action, including verbal and written warnings. Repeat violations of the policy will be treated as insubordination and will result in termination of employment.

The smoking and tobacco free policy includes both of its Corbin and Williamsburg offices.

The policy states the use of tobacco is prohibited on all property owned, leased or operated by the Whitley County Health Department. This includes all buildings, grounds, exterior open spaces, parking lots, sidewalks, and in all health department owned or leased vehicles.

The definitions of smoking or tobacco use as stated in the policy include the burning of tobacco or any other material in any type of smoking equipment, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and electronic cigarettes. Dip, chew, snuff or pouches are also included.

Visitors or clients who violate the policy may be denied access to the health department campuses and may ultimately be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.

Upcoming Smoking Cessation classes in the Tri-County

Whitley County Health Department

Date to be announced in February. Contact Kathy Lay at 606-549-0886.

Knox County Health Department

Jan. 5, 2012 — Contact Susan Liford at 606-546-3486.

Laurel County Health Department

Jan. 11, 2012 — Contact Brandy Gilley at 864-5187. Classes in Laurel County will only provide five weeks of nicotine patches and participants must purchase the last five weeks.