Tuesday, Blue Earth County board members met to discuss the proposed issue of designated smoking areas at the workplace and general tobacco use in public areas. Public health officials urged the board to vote in favor of creating a more tobacco free public environment, beginning with county owned buildings and spaces. 

Options discussed range from and an all–county building and grounds ban to limiting the ban for just County Government Centers and Court Houses.

Human Service Director Phil Claussen says there are already policies in place regarding the workplace environment, but their mission is to go further. "It does sound like the board wants to definitely move in the direction of including the public in those designated smoking areas, and then continue to move towards completely tobacco free grounds into the future. So we change policy, we have to put some things in place, and then we move toward that ultimate Tobacco Free goal," says Claussen.

Regardless of the decision, owners of private properties on county grounds will continue to have control over tobacco use policies on and within their own property.

---KEYC News 12