The long-running debate in Guilford County government over who should be allowed to smoke what where, and who should be allowed to vape – use e-cigarettes, that is – is about to heat up again.
About six years ago, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners did away with the Guilford County Board of Public Health and took over those duties – so now any changes in the county’s smoking rules fall into the hands of the county commissioners, who in the past have been reluctant to expand those rules.
Public health smoking rules adopted by the Board of Commissioners cover a lot of territory since those rules apply to county buildings, Piedmont Triad International Airport and all government buildings in the county.
On Monday, Oct. 28, Guilford County sent out notice that on Thursday, Nov. 7, the Board of Commissioners will consider new anti-smoking rules that could affect government workers as well as every smoker who visits a government property. That discussion will be held at the meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro at 301 W. Market St.
Though the county is noticing the issue, there will not be a public hearing on the matter that night.
At the Nov. 7 meeting, the county’s public health staff will bring suggested new rules to the commissioners, rules that would expand current smoking prohibitions to vaping. Those existing rules ban smoking in county buildings and also provide a no-smoking zone around the entrances of buildings that contain the county’s public health functions.
In September, health staff came before the board asking for smoking bans to be applied to the government grounds as well as inside government buildings – however, the commissioners weren’t swayed and the board voted to table the matter for 30 days.
At that time, commissioners instructed staff to rewrite the rules and come back with the new set, which staff has done. The revisions now under consideration add e-cigarettes to the list of items banned in county buildings but the revised rules being proposed will not expand the places where those bans apply.