By JOE LoTEMPLIO Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The new tobacco ordinance for Clinton County properties will go into effect July 1.
The ordinance, which was approved by the County Legislature last December, bans tobacco-product use on all county property, with the exception of the landfill, Clinton Community College and the fairgrounds, which have their own policies.
A designated smoking area will also be established at Plattsburgh International Airport.
“We are not telling people that they can’t use tobacco at all; we are, however, letting them know that tobacco use is not allowed on county property,” Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown said.
County properties are being posted with warnings about the new ordinance.
INCLUDES COUNTY JAIL
The main county properties in the City of Plattsburgh are the Government Center at 137 Margaret St., the Health Department at 133-135 Margaret St. and the Department of Family Services at 13 Durkee St.
The ordinance also applies to employees of and visitors to the Clinton County Jail at 25 McCarthy Drive in the Town of Plattsburgh. There has long been a no-tobacco policy inside or outside for inmates.
CAN SMOKE IN CARS
The new ordinance will be enforced by any uniformed law-enforcement officer or any peace officer, including Probation Department officers.
“We hope that little, if any, enforcement will be needed,” Brown said.
“We checked with other counties who have similar ordinances, and after a week or so where some people didn’t know, they have had virtually no need for enforcement.”
While people cannot smoke or chew tobacco on county property, they may smoke inside their own vehicles in county parking lots.
Penalties for violating the ordinance call for a fine of up to $500.
County employees who do so can face discipline. The county sent information about it to all employees in recent paychecks.
The new ordinance was developed with help from the Adirondack Tobacco Free Network, a program housed within the County Health Department.
“This is a good way to protect public health and reduce the burden of health-care costs associated with tobacco use for our taxpayers,” said Legislator Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh), who chairs the county’s Health Committee.
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