03/19/09 — Health Dept. puts an end to smoking at building

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Health Dept. puts an end to smoking at building

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 19, 2009 1:46 PM

The Health Department is now a tobacco-free campus.

The Board of Health Wednesday adopted the more restrictive smoking policy and agreed to purchase signage announcing there is no smoking within 50 feet of the premises.

As the Health Department gears up for state accreditation status, the policy will comply with requirements while creating a safer environment on Health Department grounds, said Health Director James Roosen.

"The main thing I'm trying to do is establish a policy so we can get accreditation behind us," he said. "We already have a smoking policy. About four years ago the Board of Health set a policy."

At the time, the parameters called for no smoking in front of entrances to the Health Department, with designated smoking areas provided for staff and the public.

Of late, that has proved insufficient according to the state accreditation guidelines.

Establishing a tobacco-free campus will remedy that.

The measure goes into effect by the board's vote, Roosen said. Signage will be purchased announcing the policy, and will be posted near the main entrance on Herman Street, on Simmons Street by the WIC building and near the back entrance on Lionel Street.

The signs, bearing the message, "Welcome to our tobacco-free campus," are expected to cost less than $500, Roosen said.

"It promotes a tobacco-free environment by discouraging tobacco use and designates no smoking areas within 50 feet of the building," he said.

The health director said he had already spoken with the various department heads that would be affected by the change, and plans to follow-up with other staff.

As a Health Department, he said, it just makes sense to set the example and encourage smokers to quit.