Huntington County properties' smoking ban draws within days

Seven signs, like the one above, have been posted on the Huntington Cunty Courthouse entrances to make sure citizens are aware of the tobacco ban on county-owned properties.
Seven signs, like the one above, have been posted on the Huntington Cunty Courthouse entrances to make sure citizens are aware of the tobacco ban on county-owned properties. Photo by Jessica Williams.

The time is drawing near for the smoking ban on county-owned properties to take effect.

The date, Jan. 1, 2010, has been set for several months now and County Commissioner Tom Wall believes county employees are ready.

The county is "pretty well set and ready to go," Wall said Monday, Dec. 21, just under two weeks before the start date of the county ordinance. The new rules ban anyone citi-zens smoking on county-owned land, including the courthouse, annex building, jail and the county highway department, and in county cars.

Kim Heaston, administrative assistant to the commissioners, says that since the ban was enacted in ordinance form, an offender can be ticketed and fined.
She adds that seven signs have been posted around the courthouse since the decision was made to warn people of the coming ban.

Heaston explains classes that aimed to help county employees stop smoking were held about seven months ago and five people chose to participate. Wall says there was another opportunity as well to get the employees prepared for the ban.

He adds that the reasons behind the decision are to protect and maintain the buildings, such as the historic Huntington County Courthouse, and the county vehicles to make them worth more upon trade in time. He says that people in the summer would stand in front of the courthouse steps and smoke while windows in the upper levels would be open. This caused the smoke to find its way into the upstairs and prevent courthouse employees from keeping their windows open.

Wall also says that people would put out their cigarettes on the side of the building, and the commissioners want to keep the building cleaned up and preserved.

He says that no one has yet complained to him about the ban.