Mecklenburg Co. commissioners consider smoking, tobacco ban

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. —

Mecklenburg County commissioners are weighing a plan to ban smoking in government buildings, cars and even outdoors in county parks.
 
The proposed smoking and tobacco ban would allow the county to:

  • Ban smoking in government buildings, vehicles and grounds, both indoor and outdoor.
  • It would also make county parks, including greenways and golf courses, tobacco free.
  • The commission also wants to get input from business owners about a ban on smoking at indoor public places.

Channel 9 told Gloria Clark about the proposal as she golfed at Revolution Park.
 
"If people want to smoke, that's their choice and it's outside. I think they should be allowed to do that, and the government should not interfere with that,” she said.
 
Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Marcus Plescia said 1 out of 5 people in the county smoke or use tobacco products, and he's seeing the result with rising rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.
 
Plescia said on top of saving lives, a ban would also save people money.
 
"All this illness, we all have to pay for it through our taxes and insurance bills. We all share in that."  Dr. Plescia said. "We could save a lot of money if we cut the rates of tobacco use."
 
Romare Bearden Park, in uptown, is the only county park that's tobacco-free, but that was established early on in the planning process.
 
The Health Department staff said it hasn't gotten any complaints, and visitors said they like the healthy atmosphere.
 
County health leaders think it's a good sign a ban would be successful at other county parks, as well.
 
To learn more about local and state efforts to stop the use of tobacco products, visit Smoke Free Mecklenburg and Smoke Free NC click: http://www.ncallianceforhealth.org/Smoke-Free-Mecklenburg.aspx