The Health Department’s role those first few years was focused more on education than administering the law, and that strategy paid off as the county’s businesses accepted the change.
A few establishments, such as American Legion posts, could apply for waivers for such situations as not having any non-smoking employees.
“There were a lot of restrictions to those waivers,” said Susan Thew, senior public-health sanitarian.
Few businesses in the county actually received waivers, she added.
A lot has changed in the public’s perspective on smoking over the past decade, Derusha noted.
“The public’s attitude is shifting in terms of public health and chronic-disease prevention,” she said. “You’re seeing a lot of these (smoking) bans expanding into outdoor areas.”
“People are making the commitment to tobacco-free outdoors to protect our children and youth,” added Nanette Postlethawit, program assistant for the Adirondack Tobacco Free Network.
Proponents of smoke-free public areas recognize that tobacco is extremely addictive and promote cessation programs as a form of support.
Businesses have also worked closely with the Health Department to establish smoke-free policies on company property.
“A lot of businesses worked with Jim to set up smoke-free policies,” Thew said. “We receive fewer complaints (from employees) each year.”
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