Sups discuss smoking policy

The Webster County Board of Supervisors approved moving forward with adopting a smoking and tobacco use policy for county employees Tuesday.

The policy would be in compliance with the Iowa Smoke Free Air Act and would go into effect July 1, board Chairman Bob Singer said.

The policy would likely make all county property smoke-free for employees, including outdoor property unless the adjacent areas are not owned by Webster County.

“It will depend if the county owns the land or property near the building,” said Cori Kuhn Coleman, first assistant Webster County attorney. “You can’t prevent the public from smoking on sidewalks; if the rule doesn’t apply the Smoke Free Air Act does. But you can only regulate your employees.”

It has not been determined if the policy will be able to include a designated smoking area for employees.

“If permissible, we could allow a designated smoking area,” said Singer. “I hope we could have a designated area that would not offend anyone.”

Supervisor Merrill Leffler said the board listened to input from county employees but there did not seem to be a specific location where a smoking area could be designated.

“We listened to employees to see if we could have a place for them to smoke, but we didn’t seem to have a place where that could be accomplished. I think we should keep it simple and follow the state laws. a policy needs to be written and we need to keep moving the policy down the road.”