Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente today
announced that smoking near the entrances to the
has been banned in order to address concerns of County employees and the
public about breathing second-hand smoke.
“Hundreds of people come and go daily from the
. We want to take action to
provide a smoke-free environment for them as they do so,” Picente said.
“Smoking has been prohibited within the building for many years, but there
has never been a formal designation of an area outside the building where
smokers could go. One of the greatest concerns expressed by both employees
and visitors is having to pass through a cloud of smoke around the entrance
doors to the building. In response to these concerns, we’ve opted to
provide a cleaner, healthier environment at the access points to the
In a letter sent to
employees, Picente said the walkway between the
and the Oneida County Courthouse is now designated as a smoking area, but
that smokers are not allowed to smoke at or near the entrances of either
building. Picente said the policy, which covers both visitors to the
building and County employees, was developed in collaboration with the
County’s Labor-Management Committee as part of his administration’s
efforts to address concerns voiced by County employees.
serious health issues created by second-hand smoke require that we take an
aggressive attitude toward protecting the public’s health in every
possible way,” said Picente, who as
has stepped up County enforcement of the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act.
“Our workers and County residents want a smoke-free environment as
they enter and leave the Office building and Courthouse. The designation of
the walkway smoking area is our direct response to their concerns”.
Picente noted that according to the Web site of
, a community partnership of organizations and individuals in
dedicated to the elimination of tobacco as a public health problem:
studies show that 63,000 people die each year as a result of being exposed
to secondhand smoke.
smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 200 are poisons, and 63 can cause
cancer. Formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, and acetone are just a few
of the chemicals found in secondhand smoke.
smoke causes lung cancer and other health problems. The EPA estimates that
there are 3,000 lung cancer deaths in the
every year from secondhand smoke.
EPA estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and
300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under the
age 18 months annually, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000
hospitalizations each year.
to a study in the Journal of American Medicine, even brief exposure to
secondhand smoke harms people.
strongly encourages County employees who do smoke to enroll in smoking
cessation programs as a means of improving their health and reducing the
impact of second-hand smoke on their families.