- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Smoking in Lancaster County may become a lot more restrictive this year.
County Council is expected to soon consider a proposed ordinance that would ban smoking in all public-access buildings in the county.
The county’s Health & Wellness Commission had been discussing the idea for some time. County Administrator Steve Willis said the drafted ordinance is modeled after those adopted in York and Greenville counties.
If adopted as written, the ordinance would prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places, including restaurants, retail stores, motel lobbies, clubs and bars.
An exception will be granted, though, to private clubs and bars where alcohol is served and nobody under age 21 is permitted.
And naturally, residents will still be able to smoke in their private homes, unless that residence is used as a licensed child-care, adult day-care or heath-care facility.
“Personally, I like it,” said County Councilman Larry Honeycutt, who also serves on the county’s Health & Wellness Commission.
“There are some restaurants in the county I don’t go in because of the smoking,” Honeycutt said. “If they serve food, we’d like for them to find a smoking area outside.”
The ordinance cites statistics from the National Cancer Institute, including the finding that second-hand smoke is responsible for the early deaths of about 65,000 Americans each year.
“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” the ordinance reads. “And separating smoking and non-smoking sections of indoor areas does not sufficiently remove the threats of second-hand smoke in enclosed areas.”
Honeycutt also speaks of the harms of second-hand smoke. He’d like to see Lancaster County adopt the ordinance just like neighboring York County.
“We’re behind,” he said. “We need to adopt it, and we will.”
Honeycutt said he sees this ordinance being placed on an agenda for consideration by County Council within the next three months.
However, Willis said if County Council adopts the ordinance, it would not be in effect in the city of Lancaster and the towns of Kershaw and Heath Springs.
Those respective councils would have to adopt their own smoking ordinances, and that’s something county officials are pushing.
County officials held a meeting recently to brief leaders from those the municipalities about the proposal.
City of Lancaster Administrator Helen Sowell said she will place the item on City Council’s agenda after County Council has its first reading.
Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152