Neall to ban smoking inside county facilities

January 20, 1993|By Deidre N. McCabe | Deidre N. McCabe,Staff Writer

Next week, county employees who smoke will have even fewer options for where they can light up. In fact, they'll be limited to the great outdoors.

During a cancer-prevention conference yesterday, County Executive Robert R. Neall announced plans to issue a new executive order banning smoking in 221 facilities and buildings owned or leased by the county. The order is expected to take effect sometime next week.

"Smoking clearly poses a significant risk to the health of smokers and others who are exposed to tobacco smoke," Mr. Neall said in a prepared statement. "It is increasingly apparent that we must provide our employees a smoke-free environment."

Then-Executive O. James Lighthizer issued the first executive order banning smoking in county buildings more than five years ago, but that order allowed designated smoking areas and smoking in private and semiprivate offices.

The new order would prohibit smoking anywhere inside a building, as well as in all vehicles owned or leased by the county. The ban would include police headquarters, fire stations, libraries, animal-control shelters, maintenance facilities, parking garages and all county offices.

The county executive and other county leaders gathered at Anne Arundel Community College yesterday to discuss a number of initiatives aimed at cutting cancer rates in the county.

More than 700 Anne Arundel residents die of cancer each year, making the county's cancer death rate significantly higher than most other Maryland counties and higher than the U.S. average.

Among the initiatives discussed yesterday:

* A $55,000 county grant to the American Lung Association that would allow 1,300 people who live or work in the county to attend the association's Freedom From Smoking program for $25, rather than the standard $80.

* Two state grants to county hospitals, totaling $232,000, to provide breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment to low-income women;

* A nutrition education program aimed at providing literature about low-fat, high-fiber diets at small, independent grocery stores.

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