La Crosse County buildings, properties to go smoke-free starting this weekend

La Crosse County buildings and grounds will become tobacco-free and nicotine-free as of Saturday. The county will be joining 26 neighboring cities and counties that have made their properties completely smoke-free, according to a press release.

All county-owned properties in downtown La Crosse will be tobacco-free. It will include the administrative center, health and human services, courthouse and law enforcement center. People will not be able to smoke or use e-cigarettes in outdoor areas of the property, such as walkways or parking lots. It also includes any property owned by the county, such as vehicles.

People who use tobacco have been required to go at least 20 feet away from the entrance of county buildings to smoke. The new policy is meant to protect people from breathing in unwanted smoke.

“Diseases caused by secondhand smoke continue to kill over 40,000 people in the United States each year,” said La Crosse County health officer Jen Rombalski in a statement. “Smoke-free policies that address both indoor and outdoor spaces are some of the best ways to promote good health and protect the health of the public and county employees from secondhand smoke.”

The health department says all tobacco products will be included, such as cigarettes, little cigars, chewing tobacco and all electronic smoking/vaping devices. This policy applies to staff, visitors, vendors, consultants, contractors or volunteers.

For those with questions about the new policy, contact the La Crosse County Tobacco Prevention Program at (608) 785-9855. Those who wish to quit tobacco use are encouraged to call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or their medical provider.

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