GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners and Gallia County Health Department officials, along with Gallia Academy High School students as part of the Stand Against Tobacco program, discussed the potential of making the Gallia Services Center which houses the Gallia Health Department, among others, a tobacco-free campus.
“It is not tobacco-free outdoors,” said McKenzie Conley, Gallia County Health Department’s director for Tobacco Use, Prevention and Cessation Grant. “It houses the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, us and Tasc of Southeast Ohio.”
Health department representatives cited the desire to protect the health of those who worked in the service center, those who visit for services, patients and more. The proposal would ask to promote healthy lifestyle choices and health department officials feel if they are to promote non-smoking policies, they wanted to make one of their first projects the service building.
Officials quoted second-hand smoke as being harmful to everyone and there was no safe-level of second-hand smoke. They said it leads to the deaths of 41,000 nonsmokers every year and noted lung cancer as being a a major health concern in Gallia County. They also noted cigarette butts do not biodegrade.
“The goal of our grant is to protect the citizens of Gallia County from second-hand smoke and exposure,” said Conley.
Health department officials cited that nearby Holzer Medical Center was a tobacco-free campus and that it was not uncommon for areas serving patients to not allow smoking on the property due to patient health concerns. Officials proposed placing signs on doors and throughout the campus parking lot along with public announcements online and at the service center.
Officials left policy suggestions and educational materials with the commissioners after the proposal.
Gallia Commissioners said they would consider the request and that they were interested in hearing from the other organizations in the building and what their opinions of the proposal would entail.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.