The City of Barnwell, SC goes smoke-free, officially

BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) — The CIty of Barnwell, South Carolina is joining a number of communities, not just in South Carolina but across the nation, in banning smoking at a number of city-owned properties. 

"It's just the right time," Lynn McEwen of the City of Barnwell told NewsChannel 6's Shawn Cabbagestalk.

For healthy living in the area.  "There are a number of municipalities in the state already that have smoke-free or tobacco-free policies," McEwen added. 

The City of Barnwell now joining the smoke-free bandwagon.

"Most of our city-owned properties, the buildings are smoke-free but there has never really been a policy in writing so we've made it official at this point," McEwen stated. 

It formalizes, as well as expands the plan to include all city-owned buildings, vehicles, parks, and outdoor events outside of those parks. 

"It's just the right time to do this to make sure that the smoking environment does not affect those who don't smoke and so we wanted to make sure that we took care of that," McEwen also said. 

"Once these businesses and municipalities learn the dangers of second-hand smoke and the benefits of a smoke-free workplace and smoke-free lifestyle, they are more willing to put these policies in effect," Hilary Hindman told NewsChannel 6's Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Hindman working with the Axis I Center of Barnwell. She has worked closely with municipalities and the school district to get policies updated. Her organization awarded a grant through the Tabacco Free Collaborative of South Carolina to promotes the benefits of smoke-free environments.

"We got their current tobacco policies and many of them already had them in place. So what we've done is worked with them to update the ones that they currently have to include alternative nicotine products which include vape pens and e-cigarettes," Hindman added. 

Her team now partnering with the City to make the area healthier. "This grant works on policy change within workplaces, school districts, and the community as a whole," Hindman said. 

She added this when talking about children and the dangers of smoking. "Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke, whether it's in the home, in the car, or even in close proximity to someone has higher rates of respiratory illnesses which can be bronchitis, asthma, and ear infections. They are also more at risk to have a death from SIDS. "

Axis 1 is also working with local businesses. "We are in recruiting businesses to participate in the smoke-free workplace policy change. We've been working with the local senior centers on education," Hindman said. We're told for seniors chronic illness already, tobacco use could exacerbate the symptoms. 

The organization now has three businesses at the moment who are working on either putting one in place or updating the one that they have to include the alternative nicotine products.

When asked how the policy will be enforced, "Our parks and rec staff as well as police officers if needed," according to McEwen.

You can expect to see no-smoking signs in the City in the next few weeks.

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