NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — The Hancock County Board of Health is seeking the public’s input on its proposed change to the clean indoor air regulations.

The county’s current regulations, established back in 1999, only bans smoking in some public buildings. The proposed change would tighten the restrictions.

“It includes all indoor areas, 100 percent clean air,” Jackie Huff, Hancock County Health Administrator said. “It also includes outdoor areas including playgrounds, fairs and festivals. People can still smoke in those areas as long as there’s a designated area.”

The draft of the document is now under a public comment period through Aug. 11.

Afterwards, the board will go through and consider what residents want done during the board’s meeting on Aug. 26.

“They’ll review the public comments at that time and then make a decision on the proposed regulations,” Huff said.

The board has already begun to receive feedback on the proposal. Most of which is in favor of the ban, according to Huff.

“The only conversation other than those in favor of the smoking [ban] being 100 percent are those talking economics.”

One group which has opposed the ban is the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort located in the county near Chester.

Already with decreased revenues due to competition from other states and online gambling, the establishment fears taking away smoking could possible drive even more customers away.

“I can’t be responsible for the economics of the county, I can only ensure the public’s health,” Huff said.

The board feels statistics from studies conducted about the health hazards which come with second-hand smoke justify the proposed ban.

“People are put at risk with second-hand smoke,” Huff said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a casino, a restaurant, a bar. The smoke is still the hazard that’s there and our board’s stance is regarding public health, protecting all peoples’ health.”

There are 25 local Boards of Health in West Virginia which have a 100 percent indoor smoking ban.

More information on the proposed ban can be found at hancockcountyhealthdepartment.com. Citizens can send in written comments to jackie.l.huff@wv.gov. To give comments in person, a public hearing will be held July 23 at 6 p.m. in the New Cumberland City Building.

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Comments

  • Samuel Duffy

    I say yes to the smoking ban! As a non smoker I would like to point out that the casinos will gain costumers by banning smoking. I don't enjoy sitting in a smoke filled facility so I tend to stay away from them. After leaving a smoke filled business my clothes and hair stink like smoke. Also, there are many of us with health conditions that can not tolerate smoke. A persons health should not suffer for the selfish pleasures of another.

  • Vickie L. Whitehill

    There are decisions people make about their own health everyday. As a smoker I oppose the ban and also as a citizen of Hancock County since 1989. You haven't looked at the devastation the smoking ban in Ohio did to small business. You're being selfish. Businesses have gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to satisfy non-smokers. You should not be able to do this to business owners and smoking citizens of the area. In Pennsylvania they are allowed to have smoking in bars as long as it is posted on the front door that it is a smoking establishment, that nobody under the age of 21 is allowed in, and that they are an individually owned business and not part of a chain. Our veterans should not have to go outside of the VFW's, American Legions and other such places to smoke. They fought for your freedom and you thank them by taking away one of theirs. You are not thinking of anyone but yourself. You know it and so does everyone else. We should have the right to go inside of smoking only areas indoors as much as you have the right to not enter. To close such places is unfair. Don't let your own agenda drive your decision.

  • Marilyn boyd

    I speak in opposition of the smoking ban I hope the board will consider a compromise when you put people jobs, at risk you put there health at risk. I agree smoking should be ban in some areas especially those areas where children are involved. But as an adult I choose to smoke for 30 years and I as an adult are feeling the consequences but that was my choice. If people want to smoke drink or gamble that should be there choice. No one is telling people to go gamble most people in Hancock County do not gamble. When my husband got his job at Mountaineer we has never had dental insurance , no I at least can go to the dentist I could not afford this while raising children , it was hard enough to get them there and pay for braces. So I ask for the well being of many people who choose to work in the gaming industry for this board to compromise. No one has a gun held to there head and told to work at Mountaineer or any establishment of gaming they choose to do this. I ask again to keep Hancock County prosperous and say jobs by working on a compromise.

  • mandy merriman

    I understand having restaurants non smoking, but casino, bars, and other places would ruin this county. We get business from Ohio and pa because everyone comes here so they can smoke. There are many places to go that are smoke free or hve non smoking areas. I used to work at mountaineer and hardly anyone used the non smoking section. Are they gonna make all the power plants and wti close their business because they are bad for our health. Its not just smoking thats killing everyone, its all that other crap thats in the air to. What about people that drink and drive? They kill people all the time,and It will eventually ruin their liver. Why not ban drinking too. Obesity is the cause of many health problems, are they gonna close them all down to try to keep the public healthy? People die there is nothing that can be done about it. People have a choice of where they go, if they dont wanna be around it they dont hve to be. I work at a cigarette store and have talked to so many people about this. Most of them say,"why wld I drive all the way here to not be able to smoke. I'll just find another place to go that I can." Jobs will be lost , and that means more people without jobs, and more people on welfare. I say no to the smoking ban !!!!!!!

  • Shadow

    Again, it appears that if you study Health, you don't know or study the Constitution. More Tyranny of the Majority.

    • ebob2k

      Smokers stulti

    • editerguy

      Which article of the Constitution?

  • Jim V

    “I can’t be responsible for the economics of the county, I can only ensure the public’s health,” Huff said.

    Well said Huff. I am sick and tired of the "my business will drop off". Big deal I say. It is not the business of the Health Dept. to worry about how much your buiness makes. Just the health of its people.

    • Jeremy Stewsrt

      Business is the only thing driving the economy in Hancock county. If a local business such as Mountaineer and the local Fraternal Orders have to lay off or close their doors it means less and less jobs for residents. If Mountaineer has less people showing up to play then local businesses will start shutting down or cutting back. I was born and raised in Hancock County and I will be jobless and homeless if this passes. I'm not saying destroy this totally, certain places should be exempt from the ban like the VFW's and casinos and cafés. A middle ground is easy to reach.

  • David

    You can't ensure the publics health you dimwitted liberal twit...