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DSS to smokers: Stop it

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
Two county departments are considering widening their bans on the use of tobacco products to their entire campuses.
The Rowan County Board of Social Services will discuss changing its tobacco policy at Tuesday’s meeting at the Department of Social Services, 1813 East Innes St., Salisbury. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.
The Board of Health also plans to consider the changes on Feb. 8.
In 2006, the county boards of social services and health adopted policies — with the approval of county commissioners — that allowed their departments to ban smoking within 50 feet of their facilities’ main entrances.
“These policies have worked well since adoption; however, the public continues to ignore the posted signs and smoke near the main entrance,” Social Services Director Sandra Wilkes wrote in a letter attached to Tuesday’s agenda. “In addition, since the new DSS facility has been completed and occupied, the number of smokers congregating in smoking and non-smoking areas in front of the building has increased.”
Wilkes wrote that directors of both departments have agreed to request that the boards consider adopting a “stronger and more comprehensive ‘Tobacco Free’ policy” for the outside areas surrounding the health department and DSS.
The amended policy would ban the use of tobacco products by staff members and visitors at any time on either campus. Tobacco use already is prohibited inside department buildings or vehicles.
In other news, the Board of Social Services plan to introduce Tuesday the new DSS safety officer, Michael Buchanan, who joined the staff Jan. 3.
“This position was created to help ensure a safe environment for both employees and visitors to DSS,” Wilkes wrote. “Michael will introduce himself and describe his duties.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Jon Hunter will advise Board of Social Services members about the Feb. 4 One Church One Child meeting, where Ernie Kirchin will speak about prescription drug abuse.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

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