*This story first appeared in The Budget’s March 28, 2018 Local Edition.
The Tuscarawas County Public Library System joins other smoke-free campuses in Tuscarawas County including Union Hospital, Tuscora Park, Kent State Tuscarawas, Newcomerstown and Dover Library.
“We are pleased to have taken this important step that will have a healthy, long-term impact on our customers and staff,” said Michelle McMorrow Ramsell. “We want to make sure that a family or an individual can visit the library or attend a program without having to pass through second-hand smoke to get into our building.”
Ramsell said this was not a decision the library made lightly. The assistant director did over a year of research of what other organizations are doing and the extension manager worked with the villages where branches are housed before drafting and presenting the Board of Trustees with a policy to consider.
The smoking and tobacco ban applies to all five Tuscarawas County Public Library buildings and surrounding grounds, as well as within library-owned vehicles. It applies to all tobacco products and tobacco substitutes and affects both employees and customers who visit the Main Library, Bolivar, Strasburg, Sugarcreek, and Tuscarawas branches.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. According to the Ohio Department of Health approximately 17,700 Ohio adults die each year from their own smoking. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It is estimated that living with a smoker can increase a person’s chance of getting lung cancer by 20 – 30 percent, and even brief moments around smoke can be harmful to a person’s health, leading to not only cancers but also other health problems like asthma and heart disease.
Ramsell said that research further indicates that secondhand smoke is especially unsafe for babies and young children because their bodies and lungs are still developing.
“We hope to see voluntary compliance by our customers and staff at all locations,” said Ramsell. “Signage is being planned, and staff will work to inform customers of the new policy. Our outdoor cigarette ashtray receptacles will remain on our library grounds to provide a place for people who may be unaware of our policy to snuff out their smoking and tobacco products.”
For more info on library policies, visit www.tusclibrary.org or call 330-364-4474 ext. 237.
Tuscarawas County Public Library System