County to smokers: Butt out

Kitsap County employees and courthouse visitors, tired of side-stepping smokers who light up near doorways, received a bit of good news this week.

The Kitsap County Commissioners on Monday approved an amended ordinance that effectively snuffs out smoking within 50 feet of any entry to a county-owned building.

The expanded measure even prohibits employees from smoking in county-owned vehicles.

No one testified for or against the amended no-smoking ordinance at the commissioners regularly scheduled meeting on Monday.

The county’s existing no-smoking ordinance, passed in 1988, only prohibited smoking inside certain county-owned or operated buildings.

Monday’s changes clarify the county’s role in minimizing the level of smoke inside county buildings.

The proposal was circulated earlier this spring before it appeared before the commissioners, but few comments trickled in, according to County Administrator Malcolm Fleming.

“We’ve received relatively few comments on the changes,” he said. “As for adding the vehicle prohibition, Kitsap County mechanics didn’t like the smell of smoke in the vehicles when they worked on them, and they also worried about the resale value of surplus cars going down because of the smell.”

Chronic complaints lodged last year about smoke-choked entryways to county buildings and smoke rings streaming into open windows during the warmer months, also spurred the changes.

The changes directly reflect state regulations outlined in the Washington Clean Indoor Air Act and standards established by the state Department of Labor and Industries.

The expanded ordinance also ensures the county will provide designated smoking areas for those employees who smoke and, according to agenda information, the ordinance will take effect next month.

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