Local News

Lee County considers snuffing out smoking in public buildings

Posted August 18, 2008

— Lee County could become the latest North Carolina government to ban smoking in public buildings. In a meeting Monday night, the Board of Commissioners considered pushing smokers outside, but decided to take the issue up again in September.

The proposal started in the office of District Attorney Susan Doyle. "Two pregnant employees in the DA's office ... have concerns about secondhand smoke, " County Manager John Crumpton said.

The employees work in an office next to a break room, where smoking is allowed. Doyle submitted a letter on their behalf to Crumpton, urging the county to consider a ban.

Although 45 of North Carolina's 100 counties – including Wake, Durham and Cumberland –have passed smoking bans in county buildings, it comes as no surprise that the Lee County proposal has ignited some resistance. The leaf remains a key part of the economy and landscape.

Outside the courthouse, George Muchison made the argument for the opposition.

"People in there are going to court. They want to ... have a cigarette. Their nerves be shot," he reasoned.

Crumpton agreed, "There are some attorneys who smoke in the building and who have some concerns about having a place where they can smoke in the building and where their clients can smoke."

Still, he knows that times are changing. "I think employees now have an expectation that they work in a smoke-free environment," he added.

If the proposal passes next month, smokers will be banished from the building. Those caught lighting up inside will face a fine up to $100.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 19, 2008

    Travised: Lots of building contain asbestos and lead, but they must be encapsulated to prevent human exposure. They cannot have loose asbestos fibers or lead dust floating through the air like a cloud of tobacco smoke. If a building had such a problem, they would be shutdown and pummeled with lawsuits...probably from smokers too.

    And, what does your "medicinal uses" comment has to do with public smoking? And, Asbestos is an effective fire retardant...so what?

    hondaman: Can you show us where perfume is considered a cancer causing agent, like second hand tobacco smoke? Do you think this is just about smell? Do you have any idea how poisonous and just plain deadly tobacco smoke is?

  • superman Aug 19, 2008

    The next ban should be on perfume. Many people have respiratory problems. Cigarette smoke and perfume are pretty much in the same category! They both on a sliding scale. Just where do you stop?

  • chickenlittle Aug 19, 2008

    California and NY have both banned smoking in public builds and restaraunts. Many businesses have shown consistently higher profits immediately after the ban. Higher profits means more sales tax. Smokers need to quit whining and smoke outside, it'll keep property taxes lower.

  • Travised Aug 19, 2008

    How many government buildings, either run or owned, have asbestos and lead still in them today? I know a residential apartment unit has a WAIVER due to cost for removal. The flooring has asbestos. Their paint has lead. This isn't a hazard?

    Smoking in the "isolated" room shouldn't be a problem in the courthouse.

    Here and now, tobacco also has medicinal uses (NOT SMOKED) when used correctly. see Kents Reprtory for information, or different versions of Materia Medica.

  • IteachforJesus Aug 19, 2008

    Oh and shep...smokers ARE the minority. Admittedly old data, but it has most likely gone down not up since then. See Link.


  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 19, 2008

    shep8851: Your rights end where others' begin. No one has the right to forcibly subject others to their will...including exposing others to cancer causing agents. And, I'd love to see your version of the Constitution where smokers are guaranteed the right to smoke.

    shep8851 wrote: "In this issue, the minority rights are being trampled..." Do you not get it that smokers are exposing those around them to CANCER CAUSING AGENTS? What part of Class A Carcinogen (along with asbestos, radon & benzene) don't you understand? It's poison, literally poison, to the people smoking and those around them. We're not talking about gum chewing here.

    shep8851 also wrote: "its time for the non-smokers to return the favor.." Smokers have had their way since tobacco was discovered...for thousands of years. The difference now is that science has shown us how poisonous tobacco smoke is. Ignore this information at your own peril, but keep others out of it.

  • Tarheel born Aug 18, 2008

    It should have been done long, long ago! I don't care if someone smokes, I just don't want to have to smoke with them. And yes, I used to smoke but laid them down in 1983 and never looked back. I wonder how much money I saved so I could spend it on my kids?!?!? At least they will have me around a lot longer, I hope.

  • DRA Aug 18, 2008

    there are plenty of smoke free resturants in raleigh and surrounding areas IF you dont like smoking then why go there go some where else if i didnt like somthing i would not subject myself to it but i guess it just gives some people somthing to whine about.and quit acting like a bunch of 5yr olds.dont like it dont go there you do have that choice atleast right now but i guess some of you dont like that either

  • breckar Aug 18, 2008

    I am from North Carolina, and I have worked in tobacco fields. I can tell you I love visiting California because you can go out to eat and not come back smelling of ash tray and not having coughed my way through dinner. I look forward to the day when North Carolina has the same kind of regulations. It may take a few more generations before it happens here, but I'm confident it will.

  • bcc Aug 18, 2008

    Smoking is assinine. Just quit already for Pete's sake.