County offices to be smoke free |

County offices to be smoke free

by Rebecca Wheeler, Special to The R-C

The Alpine County Tobacco Control Coalition has been working on this ordinance for one and a half years. They started work on this ordinance after going to the Board of Supervisors with a county employee policy that restricted smoking within 20 feet of county building entryways and doorways almost two years ago.

When the Board of Supervisors approved the county employee policy, they (the BOS) suggested the coalition pursue a county- wide ordinance. So, the coalition went back to the drawing table to develop a solid county-wide ordinance. The coalition wanted to create an environment in Alpine County that protects the health of families and children. Not only does secondhand smoke contribute to upper respiratory infection, ear infections and asthma in young children, but modeling smoking for young children creates social norms that give the false impression that smoking is cool. Smoking is more addictive than alcohol, heroin or any other drugs. According to the Center for Disease Control almost all smokers pick up the habit before the age of eighteen. Therefore, the coalition wanted the Elizabeth Coyan and Library parks where families and children frequent, designated as smoke free. County vehicles are also designated smoke free in the ordinance.

The coalition spent months working with John Crawford, sheriff; Dennis Crabb, Alpine County’s counsel; and Will Richmond, district attorney, to write a solid enforcement section of the ordinance that would be supported by those services.

The Alpine County Tobacco Coalition meets monthly. There is no application process to become a member. Interested parties can contact the coalition chair, David Peets at (530) 694-2283 with questions regarding the coalition or Rebecca Wheeler, the Health Education Programs Coordinator at (530) 694-2146.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 28, from 12-1 p.m at the Health and Human Services Agency, 75 B Diamond Valley Road, Markleeville. Lunch will be provided.