Stating a concern for public health, Oneida County officials are prohibiting the use of tobacco and related devices on its property.
The wide-reaching policy will prohibit smoking and vaping outside of Oneida County buildings, inside county owned vehicles and even in privately owned vehicles that are being used for county purposes if there is more than one person in the car. Fines for violating the new law are punishable by up to $1,000.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says it's more than an attempt to encourage their employees to quit.
"We would like to help them if they would like to quit, and the people who come here on a daily basis, but it’s a community issue," Picente said. "We need to get healthier. Our statistics are not very good in this county relative to other areas and the state as a whole and I'm concerned about that."
The policy took effect at the start of 2018 after the Oneida County Board of Legislators approved it last fall. Onondaga and Oswego counties have also banned the use of tobacco on their county properties. And last year, Onondaga and Tompkins counties raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21.
Picente says there's no appetite to do that in Oneida County at this time, but maybe in the future.