McLennan County passes new county-wide smoking restrictions
UPDATED: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 4:00pm
Waco, Tx — McLennan County officials say they're finally "catching up with the curve", as they unanimously approved new smoking restrictions this week.
The restrictions prohibit smoking in county buildings and county vehicles.
"We're not telling people that they can't smoke. We're telling them where the designated areas are that they can," said Precinct 4 McLennan County Commissioner Ben Perry.
A rise in complaints from McLennan County residents over the past couple of months has lead to county officials implementing the new smoking restrictions. Under the new ordinance, smoking is no longer permitted in or immediately around the courthouse and sheriff's office, among other buildings.
"Those that smoke make it difficult for those that want to come in that don't. They have to come in and walk through that cloud of smoke to get into the building. So, it was time that we do something," said Perry.
The regulation does not intend to completely eliminate smoking. new signs will be posted to designate where smoking areas are.
"These areas will all be off the campus, 25 foot line in any direction from any point of entrance or egress," said Perry.
Officials say they hope the restrictions aren't only more considerate for those who do not wish to be around second hand smoke. They want it to also promote healthier living.
"Hopefully through this process, we'll have some employees that make a lifestyle change and chose to quit smoking or using tobacco of any kind," said Perry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Texas ranks at number 14 of the states with the highest number of smokers.