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County to go tobacco free

At the start of the New Year, all of Otter Tail County’s buildings, grounds and county-owned vehicles will be smoke-free.

The County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 19 approved the adoption of a new tobacco-free policy which, once in effect, will prohibit smoking, the use of electronic cigarettes and tobacco on county property.

County employees and visitors wishing to use tobacco products will be expected to leave county property and grounds, unless they sit in non-county-owned vehicles.

Guidelines for the new policy were presented to the board by County Public Health Director Diane Thorson, on behalf of county health employee Janet Lindberg. Also part of the presentation were members of the County Wellness Committee.

The goal of the policy is to promote a healthy environment for all employees and visitors.

“Supervisors and managers will have formal enforcement responsibility,” according to Lindberg, who spoke at a previous board meeting in November. “The county is committed to supporting employees who seek help in stopping tobacco use.”

Signs will be posted at county property entrances, break rooms and other areas to inform employees, visitors and contractors about the new policy.

The new policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent