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News Summary

County to end smoking waivers

Publication Date: 3/1/2007
  • Author:Ray Finger
  • Publication:Star-Gazette

Chemung Board of Health halts practice of allowing exceptions for businesses.

By the end of the year, smoking will no longer be allowed at 15 businesses in Chemung County that had obtained waivers from the state's Clean Indoor Air Act.

The county Board of Health voted this week not to renew any expiring waivers that permit smoking, Robert Page, the county's director of public health, said Wednesday. Additionally, no new waivers will be issued, and any waivers that have not expired by Dec. 31 will be canceled at that point, he said.

"The Board of Health was reluctant to do waivers in the first place when the law first came out in 2003," he said. "It seemed like a good time to revisit it. We've been discussing it now at January and February meetings."

The move was initiated after advocacy efforts by the American Cancer Society showed very high cancer rates in Chemung County, particularly lung cancer, Page said, noting that it is 30 percent higher among males than the state average. Also, the county has the highest number per capita of smoking waivers in the state, he said.