MARTINSBURG, W. Va. — The Berkeley County Board of Health adopted stricter indoor air regulations by a vote of 4-1 during Tuesday night’s meeting.

However, the board opted to allow for changes to the original ordinance.

“There were some language changes and definitions that were added to allow for retail tobacco stores,” said Bill Kearns, board administrator. “Owner-operated, they have no employees, and that they’re in a stand-alone building of their own.”

Another change dealt with open areas—such as festivals, fairs and parks—which would allow the development of a self-enforced ordinance specific to those areas.

Currently, there are 650 permitted businesses within Berkeley County. Only 84 of those chose to allow smoking in their establishments.

These businesses will have until July 1 to transition into smoke-free establishments.

The board will be working with them through the process.

“We’ll work with those agencies between now and July 1 to get signage to them, to answer any questions that they may have,” Kearns said. “It won’t be an easy transition but it’s definitely a necessary one.”

Kearns said he was pleased with the public comments during the 30-day period leading up to Tuesday night’s vote and wanted residents to know their opinions were taken into account.

He hopes the cordial relationship can continue as the transition period begins.

“I’m looking forward to us working with the community to make a healthier Berkeley County.”

Tuesday’s vote was also noteworthy to the state, Kearns said.

“With our Board of Health adopting this ordinance, we become the 25th out of 49 local Boards of Health,” he said. “So that makes over 50 percent of all the counties having a comprehensive clean-air policy in place.”

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Comments

  • owner

    650 businesses in bc 84 smoking I think non smokers have plenty of places to go but you want it all. Will gestopos be entering my place with guns drawn shooting all the smokers not complying

  • Brian

    Stupidity run rampant. Government is legalizing dope in some parts of this country while banning smoking in others. Yes, big brother truly knows best doesn't he?

  • Distroying BC

    Dear citizens,

    Do as I say or you will be punished!!!

    Love,
    Homeland, Home Rule, and A. Hitler

  • Silience Dogood

    If the clean air ordinance is for your health, why are there exceptions for certain groups, friends, areas, and/or business's throughout the state? Ask yourselves how does the health department have the power to exempt anyone from a law that is supposed to be for EVERYONE'S health? Are they saying your health is not in danger in these public places? You can stop this law now if you take it to the right place.

  • BH

    Good for Berkley County! I find it astonishing, though, to read that only 25 counties have indoor "clean air policies".

  • zero tolerance

    Ahhh fresh air! Smells great doesn't it?

    Careful folks these same people will be lurking outside your bedroom windows trying to regulate more of your life!

    If you can stand in front of a mirror and say that aloud to yourself 3 times and not crack up laughing at yourself then by all means you keep on penning more ridiculous government conspiracies here on WWMN.

    • Shadow

      Another person who doesn't understand the problem and the Constitution. No one has said that smoking is good for you, it just so happens that it is a legal activity and your choice on your property, a little like being able to speak your mind.via the 1st Amendment.

      • Adam

        It's not your personal freedom when you invite the public in and require your employees to be subjected to the environment as a condition of their continued employment.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Are we to infer that smoking is tied to employment opportunities? If so, our state or local economies are in a very untenable position.

  • Bill

    I am so tired of hearing about unelected boards. You do know why they have unelected boards making these decisions, don't you? It's because they are not tied to VOTES..people who get elected will make decisions based on votes, not what is right or wrong for PUBLIC HEALTH

    • Distroying BC

      Idiot!!!

    • Todd

      Who are "unelected boards" to decide what is best for the people? God forbid people get to vote for what they want.

  • Jason R.

    I am a non-smoker and I know smoking is bad. We all get that. This seems to be more about government control than a health issue. These board members are unelected "good ole boy" politicians. I understand that they should have regulatory powers like ppms in the disinfectant solutions and who they hire as inspectors, but something like this seems to big of a decision for five unelected people to make. If I were a Berkeley County smoker I would walk right in to a bar and smoke anyhow. Can a health inspector arrest a person? Is smoking cigarettes a criminal offense now? I really would like to know what they would do. Maybe someone should just walk right into the county health department and light one up. Maybe they would have to shut themselves down.

    • Mark cyhanick

      I couldn't agree more. If a private club allows smoking, so be it. It's a "private club". No one is forcing anyone else to be there. If you don't like the rules, don't go there.

    • Shadow

      I am always taken back by the declaration "No Smoking within 15 feet of the entrance." To me, that established and "in bounds line" like in football or basketball. If you are within the boundary, you are guilty of violating their law. However, unlike the sports courts, I don't ever seen a painted boundary line. Therefore, you could be arrested for breaking the law at 20 feet and have the officer's word you were within 15 feet. A terrible situation, therefore, their should be a painted boundary around all the entrances. If it is a public sidewalk, the Government should be required to paint and maintain the "inbounds line." I think Pink would be an appropriate color.

  • MBurg Resident

    Let us say it together people "Its Obama's fault." You people are crazy. Look up the work society. If you want to be a part of society there are certain rules you have to follow. When everyone is allowed to do what is "right in his own eyes" we have chaos. I am not understandin why I should stay away from a festival because someone has an urgent need to smoke? If you need to smoke why don't you stay away from the rest of us who don't - stay home and smoke your lungs out - no one has a problem with that? Individuals who don't like rules should go live in the jungle - no place for you in a civilized "society." Progress has to be made and it will be painful for some (the smokers in this case) but in the end it will be better for all. I am assuming that the smoker (what's next) is also anti-Obama Care but when he/she gets lung cancer, and you will, you will be running to the hospital to get that thing placed in throat using ACA (otherwise called Obama Care). Good luck to you..

    • Jason R.

      Mburg, your "society" rationale is the same one that every Marxist dictator in history has ever used. Those that did not agree with "society" were often executed or sent away to the gulag. In Obama's world, we just send a hundred heavily-armed federal gestapo after them. Who the hell are you to determine what is better for me? As far as Obamacare goes either a.) I can't afford it b.) I can't afford the deductible or c.) I'm a deadbeat on medicaid who will get someone else to pay for that thing in my throat anyhow in good socialist fashion.

      • MBurg

        Get a job so you can afford something. Maybe you should stop spending all of you money buying cigarettes and pay for your health care instead of depending on hard working liberals like me. Get a job or go back to school and learn something. Maybe you should get some psych meds while you are at it. Your paranoia is very obvious.

    • Shadow

      It is only too obvious that you do not understand the problem! I hope they invade your bedroom. Progress to you is for you to tell your neighbor what he can do with what he owns and pleases your sensibilities. You should live in a Commune and then you would be happy as an administrator.

  • Voter

    Yes another un-elected board creating laws that will only hurt businesses.

  • zero tolerance

    Nothing wrong with a smoke free environment. Thank you Berkeley County!

    • Todd

      Yea, and there is nothing wrong with letting unelected officials run everybody's lives.

  • What's Next

    Someday, committees, legislative bodies, councils, etc will be telling us what we can do every day no matter where you are standing is unbelievable. So here is a ridiculous comparison for you to ponder: in Berkeley County (and most of WV), you can park old cars, trucks, other equipment on your property forever, you can discard furniture, appliances, etc on your property, you can have livestock on your property with very little controls and right next to any other type property (unless a subdivision covenant) restricts you). So I can establish a hog farm right next to my neighbors million dollar house or a steak house restaurant. My point is, we have no zoning to protect this segment of personal property or the land, view, air thereof, but we are worried about the open air at parks, festivals, etc. If you don't want to breathe second hand smoke then simply avoid the event or establishment where it occurs. Weight challenged people beware, you are next. I shouldn't have to view your obesity in a public place. It makes me sick to observe or be near weight challenged and obese people. I agree that schools, public buildings, place of work and basically any public place should be smoke free unless the private owner allows it and you choose to enter and be at risk. But open air at a park or festival. That's ridiculous. I have to smell an asphalt plant near my home every day. But nothing is done about that hazard! I can guarantee you that smelling their exhaust is not healthy.

    • Jim

      Some people just do not get the fact that Secondhand smoke is dangerous. Looking at an overweight person does not hurt you one bit. Their fat does not transfer in the air to your body, unlike cigarette smoke.

      • Todd

        Jim, who is the government to decide what is good or bad for people.

        • realty check

          What?? you mean that darn government shouldn't have any right to tell us what's safe. abolish speed limits. abolish the FDA. abolish food inspectors. abolish any requirements that little kids be in car seats. there are certainly areas that the government shouldn't stick its nose in (and we can argue over whether this is one of those areas, since it involves private business and the use of a lawful product) but such blanket statements make conservatives look stupid.

  • Shadow

    Another step in the road to dictatorship. Our Freedoms erode one step at a time, done by Little Caesars under the guise of the biggest fraud of all, public health.

    • Fiscal Conservative

      I agree. It should be up to the owner of the building as far as smoking goes.

      • flossrancher

        That's right! Same thing with speed limits. Each business or resident ought toi be able to decide what is the proper speed limit for the section of road in front of his building. Dictatorship!

        • Shadow

          Under the guise of Public Health, the Board of Health should have the right to tell you what goes on in your bedroom and provide inspectors to ensure their compliance. Think it impossible? They just claimed the Right to do that......

        • Alum

          Private property versus public roadway. You do understand the difference, don't you? (that's rhetorical by the way because your post answers the question)

          • Beekeeper

            Exactly! What a ridiculous comparision.