Meck Co. residents have questions about proposed smoking and tob - | WBTV Charlotte

Meck Co. residents have questions about proposed smoking and tobacco ban

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

Jonathan Burger doesn't smoke or use tobacco. Still, he felt compelled to attend a public forum about the proposed ordinance to ban cigarette smoking from all county and city government buildings, and smoking and tobacco from county parks, green ways, and golf course.

"I'm against the part that includes e-cigs into the ordinance" Burger told WBTV.

Electronic cigarettes don't have second hand smoke but health officials say the verdict is still out on how electronic cigarettes affect the body. They said they included e-cigarettes in the tobacco ban in parks because they don't want kids copying adults smoking.

Burger said some of his friends stopped smoking with the assistance of e-cigarettes.

"I think by including this in that ban it sends a message to those people who want to quit and want to use this that this isn't good for that, and they should go back to smoking cigarettes."

Dr. Marcus Plescia, Mecklenburg County's Health Director said County Health officials proposed the ordinance because they want to lower tobacco use in the county, limit exposure to second hand smoke, and stop young people from getting started with cigarettes and tobacco.

"Tobacco use restrictions help keep young people from starting to smoke" Dr Plescia told the crowd. "And this is probably the most compelling part of this particular strategy."

Residents who attended the forum had a variety of questions.

"If approved how will this ban be enforced?"

Dr. Plescia responded "if you make it clear to people what the rules are and you do that with signage, and if you make it clear where you can smoke and where you cannot smoke - people will follow the rules."

County Health officials estimate the signs could cost between $100,000-to-$200,000.

William Lesure said while he understands the motivation behind the ordinance, he has a problem with the money.

"I look at it like taxpayers' money should be going some place else, especially county tax" Lesure said.

But Dr. Sandra Burke said she completely supports the ban.

"I'm very much for this proposed ordinance. It's going to be something that really makes a difference for all our citizens - for smokers and non smokers alike" said Dr. Burke, a Cardiovascular Research Scientist. "There are so many reasons why we don't want people  exposed to primary smoke or second hand smoke. It's more than just lung cancer we're concerned about."

Another resident wanted to know "what about designated smoking areas in larger parks?"

Dr. Plescia said "I think that would totally undermine the purpose of the ordinance and restrictions. We will not have special areas for people to go."

County Commissioners are scheduled to hold a public hearing September 2nd on the proposed ordinance.

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