City of Okeechobee property to be smoke-free environment

OKEECHOBEE — The City of Okeechobee approved an amendment to the city’s No Smoking Policy on Oct. 17, at the city council meeting.

The No Smoking Policy that was in place prior to the amendment being approved was worded “There will be no smoking by employees of the city inside its public buildings as provided by the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act (Florida Statute 286.201), and upon review of the city’s No Smoking Policy the amendment was proposed, which required official action of the city council.

The recommended amendment, Smoke-Free Policy states:

• A tobacco-free environment helps create a safe and healthy workplace and environment. Smoking and secondhand smoke are known to cause serious lung diseases, heart disease and cancer. The city supports the health of its citizens, and reinforces our commitment to preserving and improving the health and comfort of our employees and visitors. Effective Nov. 1, 2017, the city will be a smoke-free environment except in approved designated areas. For these purposes, smoking products are defined as cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, cigarillos, cigars, clove cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as vapor and electronic cigarettes.

• The use of the products as listed above are prohibited in any building or on the grounds except in designated areas. This includes all indoors and outdoors areas that are city owned or leased facilities, including but not limited to, all buildings and facilities, outdoor areas, porches, covered walkways, common areas, parking lots, and city-owned or leased vehicles.

Respectively, there is a 50-foot distance from entrance/exit of city buildings or facilities where smoking products are limited from use. This Smoke-Free initiative applies to all persons present in the areas described above including but not limited to city elected officials, employees (whether full-time, part-time, temporary and/or volunteer), contractors and visitors.

• Smoking use shall be permitted only in exterior designated smoking areas. All materials used for smoking in designated smoking areas, including cigarette butts and matches, will be extinguished and disposed of in appropriate containers.

• Employees are only allowed to smoke on their rest and meal breaks. Employees may not take or be allowed any additional breaks to use any tobacco product.

• Direct any question, complaint, or dispute about tobacco use in the workplace to the personnel administrator. Employees who want to quit tobacco are encouraged to use Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way, a set of free services to help tobacco users quit, is provided on the employee bulletin boards.

The community health advocate for the Quit Doc Foundation, Courtney Moyett “advised that her organization can provide signage, free of charge, for the city to post at all facilities” and provided two samples with “the verbiage based on the type of policy adopted, ‘tobacco free’ or ‘smoke free.’”

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