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New county policy bans e-cigarette from county buildings
new deh county commission smoking pic 1
The Barton County Courthouse is among the county buildings in which the use of e-cigarettes is now banned. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

As of Monday, not only will be illegal to light up in county buildings, but the use of electronic cigarettes will also be banned.
“The e-cigarettes have an emission of nicotine that is unmeasured that people can ingest,” said Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider. The use of such cigarette substitutes in the Health Department and the potential impact on pregnant women and children sparked the discussion.
“It is just the same in our eyes as regular cigarettes,” Schneider said. There are, she said, just too many unknowns about the unregulated liquid nicotine used in the devices.
County vehicles are also included in the ban.
Barton County had three resolutions, the earliest dating back to 1991, dealing with clean air and the use of tobacco products. The action Monday combined under one resolution all the earlier ones, as well as extended the prohibition to tobacco substitutes, generally e-cigarettes.
 The use of the phrase “tobacco substitutes” was used to cover future products that may need to be prohibited. “We were trying to be forward thinking,” Schneider said.
Violations of the resolution will be treated as a class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine, but there will likely be few prosecutions, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. None the less, the new rules will give county officials leverage if they have someone creating a nuisance.
 County Health Educator Janel Rose said the new ban nicotine patches and other approved smoking cessation products.
In addition, the no-smoking zone around the Health Department was extended to 20 feet. The distance for other county buildings is 10 feet and this will remain the same.
Often, they have windows open or visitors have to walk through the current smoking area to enter the Health Department. “At times it is an issue,” Rose said.