FLEMINGSBURG -- More than 20 cities and counties in Kentucky have passed bans on smoking in public places and one more may soon be added to that list.
Flemingsburg Mayor Marty Voiers and city council are considering a municipal order prohibiting the use of any form of tobacco products "throughout the entire workplace on all city properties with no exceptions, including city owned vehicles." A notice on the city's website reads, "this policy applies to all employees, consultants, contractors, customers and visitors," and lets citizens know that there will be signs posted at entrances of buildings as well as within the premises.
If approved, the order would be effective July 15.
The order began coming together two or three months ago, according to Voiers.
"It's something I'd thought about before, but it was never formalized." The process, according to the mayor, began as a suggestion, as he talked the idea over with city department heads. It was after this, a proposal was written and distributed.
The reasoning behind the order isn't very complex, but does aim to strive for the best interest of city employees and citizens alike, said Voiers.
"Smoking is considered a health hazard ... and smokers pay a bigger premium on health insurance."
According to the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet, the annual health care costs in Kentucky directly caused by smoking is $1.5 billion. Voiers understands the cost of healthcare for those who smoke but also is attempting to protect citizens from second-hand exposure, he said.
According to the order, separating smokers and nonsmokers with ventilation systems is not enough protection and "does not completely stop potentially dangerous exposure." Smoking and use of other tobacco products is permitted outside any city facility at a minium distance of 25 feet from any window, door or other opening, according to the order.
City Councilman Meredith Story agrees with the mayor's decision to promote the policy.
"It'll be a good thing for the employees and the public," Story said.
This municipal order was expected to be discussed at Monday's council meeting.
More information on the new policy and a statement can be found at www.flemingsburgky.org.