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Hamilton might ban smoking at city work sites, public parks

Hamilton might ban smoking at city work sites, public parks
Posted at 10:43 AM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 10:55:45-04

HAMILTON, Ohio -- The city of Hamilton is considering a ban on tobacco and e-cigarettes at all its work sites and properties, including inside city vehicles and possibly at Hamilton's parks.

The ban also would cover its government complex on High Street; Hamilton shares the building with Butler County government and private companies that lease space.

Human Resources Director Tim Werdmann recently told Hamilton City Council about the plans under consideration, the Journal-News reported.

The new regulations might include a policy against hiring new employees who use tobacco, something the American Lung Association doesn't recommend. Rather than that punishment approach, advocacy director Shelly Kiser said, the American Lung Association supports incentives for people to quit. Hamilton also is considering those kinds of incentives through its health insurance plan.

"We are concerned that certain groups of people who are disproportionately impacted by smoking might be let out of the hiring process," Kiser told the Journal-News. "So that's not a policy that we personally promote, although there are a lot of people who do promote that policy.”

The organization generally supports the rest of Hamilton's plans, Kiser said, including a ban on smoking at city parks.

"One of the reasons is it protects people who have lung diseases, like asthma, from second-hand smoke. I talked to a young girl in Dayton, and she played soccer. And if the people would be on the sidelines watching her play soccer, and she would breathe in that second-hand smoke, it could cause an asthma attack for her," Kiser said.

Rob Lawrence, manager at Tobacco Discounters on Tylersville Road, told the Journal-News he thought a ban on smoking in city parks was "ridiculous."

"Who is a human being to tell another human being that 'You cannot smoke'?" he said. "Especially the vaporizer ones. I don't get that. I understand inside buildings, because you’re in direct contact, but all it takes (outdoors) is walking like a foot or two away from people to not bother them."

Ohio approved an indoor smoking ban in 2006. When it took effect in 2007, the state's smoking rate among adults was 23.1 percent. It's declined to 21.6 percent since then, but still is above the national average of 15.1 percent.

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Read more about Hamilton's plans at the Journal-News, a WCPO media partner.