City Officials in McCall, Meridian Consider No-Smoking Efforts

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Two of the region's communities are taking up the issue of smoking in public spaces.

The McCall Star-News reports that the McCall City Council held a special forum to allow the community to weigh in on a proposal that would require smoke-free workplaces in the Valley County community.

Advocates from Smokefree Idaho and health-care providers argued that smoke-free workplaces lead to fewer sick days and less absenteeism. According to officials at St. Luke's McCall Center for Health Promotion, Valley County has a smoker rate of 21 percent, nearly 50 percent higher than the national average.

No proposed ordinance has been formally presented to the McCall City Council.

Meanwhile, the Meridian City Council has approved a new policy that prohibits city employees from smoking during work hours, including break times. Employees are allowed to smoke during lunch. The new policy also bans the use of electronic cigarettes during work hours. Previously, city employees were banned from smoking in public buildings or parks, but the updated policy takes it one step further.