BEAVER (KDKA) — Beaver County Commissioners are working on a possible ordinance to ban smoking on county property.
It will be as strict as the UPMC smoking ban that went into effect this month.
“I thought it was inevitable that is was gonna happen,” says Joe Mann.
He’s the chief steward for more than 200 Service Employees International Union members in Local 668.
“First, we heard about it was when we negotiated this last contract and they told us they were going to implement a smoking schedule,” said Mann. “There is nothing we are going to be able to do about if even if we wanted to and we don’t.”
The three Beaver County commissioners are drafting a proposal to ban smoking on county property, including electronic cigarettes.
That would include areas like the Beaver County Jail, the county parking garage, the 911 center, the magistrates’ offices and the county courthouse.
Right now, there’s a designated smoking area behind the county courthouse but if the ordinance passes, the area will be off limits.
Terina Koller, of Conway, who was waiting to testify at a trial on Wednesday says, “I think you should be able to smoke. It’s a free country. They have designated areas for a reason, it’s outside, it’s not like other people are getting your second smoke.”
Jeff Haslett, of Ambridge, who was also waiting for a court case, told KDKA’s Brenda Waters: “I don’t mind having to go to a certain place to smoke, but not to be able to smoke at all, it’s just ludicrous.”
Commissioner Tom Amadio says it will save the county money on medical insurance for employees; although, he is not sure how much or how a one-time warning and then a $25 fine will be enforced.
“We’re in the early stages of it,” said Amadio. “The possibility was raised; let’s fine the visitors, but discipline the employees. I think we should probably keep it the same, fines for everyone.”
The ban does not include Beaver County parks.
If it passes, county commissioners hope it will go into effect in January.