Even chewing tobacco will be prohibited in parks, all other Benton County property

Life is about to get a little bit harder for Benton County smokers.

The Board of Commissioners voted 3 to 0 on Tuesday to ban smoking — as well as smokeless tobacco products such as chew, snuff and electronic cigarettes — at all county-owned facilities and grounds starting Jan. 1, 2013.

The ban includes not only public areas and parking lots outside county buildings but also all county parks, natural areas and campgrounds.

Technically, the new rule is an internal policy that governs Benton County employees, not an ordinance, so no public hearing was required to pass it. But it’s written in such a way as to apply to volunteers, interns, clients, visitors and vendors on county property as well.

County Counsel Vance Croney cautioned the commissioners the rule would be difficult to enforce on non-employees, especially in parks and campgrounds.

“This is an internal policy. Extending it beyond the employee base becomes a very tricky proposition,” he said during the board’s Tuesday work session.

“We can control our buildings, we can control our facilities, but if we’re not there to monitor it (in parks and campgrounds), it’s probably going to fall on deaf ears.”

Sara Hartstein, the county’s tobacco prevention coordinator, said there were no plans to actively enforce the policy with the public. Instead, she said, signs would inform visitors that county facilities are tobacco-free areas, and county employees would be encouraged to educate violators about the rules.

The tobacco-free policy is intended to send a pro-health message to the public and support people who are trying to quit, Hartstein said.

“It’s not meant to be punitive.”

Oregon already has a smoke-free workplace law, and Corvallis has banned smoking in city parks.

Multnomah County facilities and grounds are scheduled to go tobacco-free July 1, and Deschutes County recently approved a similar policy.

Oregon State University is on track to ban tobacco use, and Commissioner Jay Dixon noted that Samaritan Health Services has already made its Corvallis campus tobacco-free, posting signs that clearly notify visitors of the rules.

“I think what Samaritan has done, if we just put up some signage, would work fine,” he said.

Some Benton County officials expressed concerns about how the new policy would play out.

Community Development Manager Greg Verret said he was worried about the impact on his smoking employees.

“I’m concerned about their health, but I’m also concerned about them feeling put upon or singled out,” he told the commissioners.

Fair Manager Lonnie Wunder said he had been involved in implementing a similar policy at a previous job in California, and trying to enforce it created problems with the public.

“What we found is that the education part works the best,” he said. “You can’t force people into a corner. They just leave, or they get really upset.”

But Health Department Director Mitch Anderson, whose department pushed for the policy in the first place, told the commissioners that the county had an obligation to promote public health.

“The way I look at it, this is the County Commission — which is also the Board of health — saying this is a pro-health community, and we need to lead,” he said.

“Even if only one person stops smoking as a result of this, it’s worth the effort.”

Contact Bennett Hall at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com.

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

(1) comment


This DESTROYS all the fabled second hand smoke myth!


Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

“I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study...........................

Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

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