Select Board approves employee smoking ban

Consider a smoke-free ordinance for public places
By Louis Bettcher | Jul 10, 2018
Source: Livestream Select Board members Debra Hall and Jeff Hamilton in Rockport on July 9.

Rockport — The Rockport Select Board approved an amended workplace smoking policy which will affect town employees beginning Sept. 1. The policy states that there will be no smoking or use of tobacco products within the town's facilities and equipment at any time.

The July 9 meeting was attended by Molly Stone from the Knox County Community Health Coalition. Stone serves as the coalition's tobacco and nicotine prevention coordinator, and discussed with the Select Board ways in which a town-wide smoke-free policy could be enacted in public areas such as Rockport Harbor.

Stone said that if the Select Board approved a tobacco and smoke-free policy that applied to all visitors to Rockport and citizens, smoking could be banned in public spaces such as the Rockport Marine Park and outside buildings such as the town office.

She said that depending on the procedures enumerated within the policy, such as potentially fining people for smoking or ejecting them from public spaces, KCCHC would provide the town with a number of free "No Smoking" signs. The Select Board decided to review terms of the policy again and refer it to the town attorney before choosing to act on the document, which had an effective date of July 9, 2018.

The employee smoking ban states its purpose as providing a healthy, comfortable and productive work environment to all employees and visitors to Rockport. It states that it will be town policy to provide a smoke-free environment for all employees and visitors to such public buildings as the town office, where many municipal employees have their offices.

The procedure to enforce the policy involves placing signs throughout the town office, as well as copies of the policy manual, and that training will be provided to employees by their supervisors. It states that the town will assist employees who want to quit using tobacco. Any violation of the policy will be handled through the town's disciplinary procedure.

A portion of the workplace smoking policy that was removed by the Select Board would designate a smoking area 15 feet from the town's facilities. Instead, employees who wish to smoke or use tobacco products will need to leave the property, most likely during a designated break time or lunch break.

Selectmen Jeff Hamilton and Mark Kelley agreed that it was important that a reasonable period of time was provided to all town employees before the policy was enacted, and the board agreed that Sep. 1 was sufficient. Hamilton also asked Town Manager Rick Bates to contact all town employees and inform them of the policy as soon as possible.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Edwin E Ecker | Jul 12, 2018 05:49

I am not a smoker and think it is a dirty habit everyone could do without BUT preventing a person from smoking (a legal product) outside or in a designated area within an enclosure seems a bit too much !

Let us put the test to another legal substance i.e. AlCOHOL !

Would the powers to be also make an effort to outlaw a person under the influence or just consuming alcohol from entering or working in the same venue ?

I think not because then those that have their little flask or bottle in their bottom drawer would feel very threatened.

We all know the results of those that have consumed alcohol and the problems associated with it's abuse.

I know it is so politically correct to oppose smoking but unless a person is in close proximity to another that objects to the smoking try to meet them half way ,give them their space and after all aren't we all so concerned in our freedoms of expression and civil rights as citizens of this country ?


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