Tobacco Ban in Hennepin County Buildings Starts Soon

It’s been more than 10 years since the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners banned smoking in county buildings.

Fast forward to 2008 when the county decided on policy that restricted smoking within a “45-foot radius of street-level entrances of county-owned buildings” and banned the county’s employees from smoking while working or while in a Hennepin County vehicle.

Effective in 2011, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners has been put into place has put more policy in place. This time, the focus expands to all forms of tobacco. The ban includes smoking and use of any other form of tobacco, including chewing tobacco.

The policies relating to prohibiting tobacco use on all property owned by Hennepin County government was approved by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in March 2011, according to a news release from the county.

“By making our campuses tobacco-free, we’re beginning an era of cleaner facilities and lower costs – and hopefully getting folks to reconsider smoking altogether,” said County Board Chair Mike Opat.

Depending on where you live in the county determines when the policy goes into effect during the summer of 2011. For example, the policy goes into effect July 1, 2011 for all Hennepin County government property in downtown Minneapolis. Sites like the Maple Grove Library will have the policy will go into effect Aug. 1, according to Hennepin County Representative Carla Biermaier.

The policy goes into effect for other sites as follows:

  • Hennepin County libraries – Aug. 1
  • Suburban Hennepin County facilities – Sept. 1
  • Hennepin County sites where Hennepin County is the single leasing tenant – Oct. 1

“This new policy prohibits the use of tobacco anywhere on county-owned property – which, in the case of libraries, means anywhere in the buildings or on the grounds and in parking lots and ramps,” Biermaier said.

The new policy, according to the county, applies to:
·        Buildings and grounds of property owned by Hennepin County government and leased properties where Hennepin County is the sole tenant
·        Parking garages, lots and ramps owned by Hennepin County government
·        County-owned vehicles and equipment
·        Personal vehicles on county property
·        Tobacco use within 45 feet of street-level entrances to county buildings.

By Wendy Erlien

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