County employees moving into the Utah County Regional Government Center this summer will have to leave their cigarettes behind, commissioners said during their Wednesday meeting.
A vote on the decision to prohibit any smoking in the new facility is scheduled for final approval Monday.A non-smoking policy proposed Wednesday by county Health Department Director Joseph Miner recommends that smoking be allowed only in designated rooms ventilated directly to the new building's exterior and separated from non-smoking areas. Commissioners, however, tentatively decided to eliminate smoking altogether in public buildings.
If approved, the policy would prohibit smoking in all county buildings and eliminate existing designated smoking areas. Smoking in government vehicles and private vehicles used for government business also would be prohibited when non-smokers are in the vehicles.
"Because of the clearly demonstrated health risks of even second-hand exposure to tobacco smoke, it is the policy of Utah County government to not permit smoking in any and all areas where nonsmoking employees and nonsmoking public clients occasionally need to visit," the policy says.
"It's a good policy," Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck said. "If we pass it, we've got to enforce it."
Beck said several states have no-smoking guidelines that are much more stringent than similar laws in Utah. Under Utah law, smoking in public buildings is allowed in designated smoking areas.
Miner said Utah laws governing smoking in public places could be tougher, but lawmakers, many of whom belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fear charges of religious discrimination by smokers.
"It's not a religious issue," Beck said. "It's a health issue."