County Limits Smoking And Vaping In Public Places Feb. 1st

County Limits Smoking And Vaping In Public Places Feb. 1st

County Limits Smoking And Vaping In Public Places Feb. 1st Featured

By / Local News / Monday, 01 February 2021 03:47

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - Last year the New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board recommended   revising rules prohibiting the use of e-cigarretts and tobacco within the County.
According to the Board, "This is a revised version of the rule adopted by the Health and Human Services Board in August that includes the prohibition of use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in county, town and city buildings, vehicles and grounds, as well as in public places in New Hanover County, like restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.  Revisions include removing references to streets and sidewalks, and changing language to clarify enforcement by municipalities."
North Carolina teen tobacco use continues to climb, with youth use rising by 1.2 percent to 28.8 percent based on results of the 2017 N.C. Youth Tobacco Survey, released earlier this year by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Data also show that 16.9 percent of North Carolina teens report using e-cigarettes, compared to 11.7 percent in the National Youth Tobacco Survey.
The state survey showed e-cigarettes have been the tobacco product most frequently used by middle and high school students in North Carolina since 2015.
On February 1st, New Hanover County announced that, "Beginning today, February 1, New Hanover County’s Smoking and Vaping Ordinance, prohibiting the use of combustible tobacco and e-cigarettes in public places, goes into effect throughout the county. The ordinance aligns the expectations of vaping with traditional cigarette smoking in most public places, and protects residents from unwanted inhalation of second hand smoke and e-cigarette vapors. Areas where smoking and vaping will be prohibited include county, town and city vehicles, buildings, and grounds, and public places like restaurants, bars and entertainment venues."
Health and Human Services Director Donna Fayko explained, "Evolving research shows that aerosols produced by e-cigarettes contain heavy metals and toxins, and there is still a lot we don’t know about the health effects of those vapors," and, "So this rule is a comprehensive approach to protect our residents and visitors from known and unknown effects of second hand smoking and e-cigarette vapors."
According to County officials, the ordinance applies throughout New Hanover County, including the city and beach towns, but does not apply to private residences, private vehicles, streets, sidewalks, vaping shops, designated smoking areas as permitted by NC law and several other exemptions, which are outlined at Health.NHCgov.com. Enforcement differs depending on whether the infraction is vaping or combustible tobacco use, but both provide the option of an oral warning.
Fayko explained, "Public Health’s focus through this ordinance is on education and not merely punitive action," and, "Our team will be increasing our outreach and education efforts about smoking cessation, providing important resources for businesses and organizations, and working to help our residents stop smoking and vaping so they can lead healthier lives."
The County has begun placing signs at county-owned buildings stating the new rules that smoking and vaping are prohibited.
According to County officials, "Public Health is working with area business and municipalities to place additional signage around the county."
County officials explained the Health and Human Services Board conducted months of in-depth research and revisions, informed by community feedback and public health guidance, and approved the Smoking and Vaping Rule in October 2020. The rule, as required by North Carolina Public Health law, was then approved by the Board of Commissioners through an ordinance in November 2020.
For the last four years, e-cigarettes have been the most frequently used tobacco products among students in North Carolina. From 2011 to 2017, e-cigarette use by high school students increased nearly 900 percent with 16.9 percent reporting e-cigarette use in 2017.
Among middle school students, e-cigarette use increased by over 400 percent from 2011 to 2017. Use of e-cigarettes by students while in school poses health and safety risks and violates established tobacco-free school policies in North Carolina.
Free smoking cessation resources are available through the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch. Additionally, residents can call the NC Smoking and E-Cigarette Use Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit QuitLineNC.com for free quitting support services.
For more information about the ordinance and additional cessation resources, visit Health.NHCgov.com
Smoking/Vaping Permitted as of February 1, 2021:
• Personal residence
• Personal vehicle
• Designated areas of unenclosed sections in restaurants and bars.
• Privately owned unenclosed areas (business parking lot, business patio, etc.)
• Smoking/E-cigarette shop
• Cigar bar
• Designated smoking/vaping guest room in a lodging establishment
• Private club
• Movie, TV, theater or other live production set, only for the actor portraying smoking/vaping
• A public area at such time group therapeutic rehabilitation is being conducted
Smoking/Vaping Prohibited as of February 1, 2021:
• County, Town and City buildings
• County, Town and City vehicles
• Any County, Town and City grounds, except where expressly permitted
• County, Town and City parks, playgrounds, athletic field and trails except where expressly permitted
• Bus stops on County, Town or City grounds
• Public Transportation
• Child Care Facilities
• Shopping Malls & Retail Stores
• Elevators
• Polling Places
• Public Restrooms
• Restaurants and Bars (except where expressly permitted in unenclosed areas)
• Galleries, Libraries and Museums
• Theaters, Entertainment and Sports Arenas
• Gaming facilities including Internet Sweepstakes
• Lobbies, hallways and common areas in multi-unit residential facilities (apartment buildings, retirement facilities, nursing homes, etc.)
• Offices and commercial establishments where the public is invited or permitted.

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