Hennepin County explains the smoking ban

Categories: Health

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Hennepin County's smoking ban: Does it go too far? Take the poll below.
We mentioned the other day that Hennepin County Commissioners have now passed a far-reaching ban on smoking in and on all country property. The new rule builds on previous policies that banned smoking in, and within 45 feet, of all county buildings.

"People are free to smoke, just not on our property," commissioner Mike Opat said after the measure passed 6-1.

Now the county has published a more detailed description of what the ban entails:

The expanded policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products on all Hennepin county-owned and single-tenant leased sites or within a 45-foot radius of street-level entrances to these properties (whichever distance is further). This includes county grounds, structures, parking garages, lots and ramps, county-owned vehicles and equipment, and the entire area on Sixth Street underneath the Government Center.

The policy applies to county employees, contractors, vendors and members of the general public. It does not apply to the use of tobacco as part of a traditional spiritual or cultural ceremony approved by the county, nor does it include county roads and right-of-ways, or property leased by Hennepin Healthcare System Inc. and Hennepin County Medical Center.

Well, at least the spiritual smokers are OK.

We pointed out in the original post that the percentage of Minnesotans and Hennepin County residents who smoke is now at an all time low, and that this new rule impacts a relatively small percentage of people -- 12 percent in the county. (Read the post.)

Still, is this smoking ban going to far? What do you think?

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If you are outside, that is about as well-ventilated as it can get. But that isn't good enough, because the ban never was about second-hand smoke, in spite of the rhetoric presented at the time. One can only wonder how many people are terrified of breathing smoke from someone standing 45 feet away outdoors. Maybe certain entrances could be designated off-limits so that these terrified people would never come within 45 feet of an outdoor smoker.

Instead, it's about inconveniencing and humiliating smokers so that they will quit.

One can still buy high-fructose corn syrup and fattening snacks inside of those properties, because obesity and diabetes aren't significant health problems, apparently.

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