January 18, 2008
Reminder to Residents: No Smoking in Public Areas
The Oswego County Board of Health is reminding residents to comply with the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act and report violations to their local health department.
“There is a higher incidence of complaints of indoor smoking in public areas during the winter months,” said Natalie Roy, associate public health sanitarian for the Oswego County Health Department. “It's important for people to be aware of the law and how to report a violation.”
The New York State Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Effective July 24, 2003, this law also includes public areas such as schools, hospitals and health-care facilities, public transportation areas, swimming pools, zoos, arenas, gaming facilities and commercial establishments.
The public may make a confidential report of a violation if they visit or work at a public place where indoor smoking continues to be allowed. This can be done online at www.smokefreeny.org or by calling the county health department at 349-3557 or 1-800-596-3200 ext. 3557.
“Tobacco use is a serious health issue and the Clean Indoor Air Act reflects the state's commitment to ensuring that all workers are protected from secondhand smoke,” said Kathleen Smith, Oswego County Public Health Director. “As a partner in the enforcement of the law, Oswego County has adopted the state's procedures.”
After a complaint is made to the board of health, county officials open an investigation of the alleged incident. A staff member conducts an in-person inspection of the facility as soon as possible. If an offense is found, the establishment is cited with a violation and fine.
“Oswego County has run a successful program to protect the public and enforce the Clean Indoor Air Act,” said Legislator John Proud, District 7, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee. “In 2004, there were 22 violations, as compared to four in 2007. Over the last four years, complaints have decreased by 61 percent.”
The Health and Human Services Committee oversees the programs and policies of the health department. Additional committee members include vice chairwoman Barbara Brown, District 8; Daniel Chalifoux, District 19; Margaret Kastler, District 1; Arthur Gearsbeck, District 6; Douglas Malone, District 20; and Morris Sorbello, District 23.
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