The Pima County Board of Supervisors passed tough new anti-smoking rules Tuesday, saying no one can smoke anywhere on county property anytime.
The new Tobacco-Free Environment Policy applies to all county properties, which include all parks, libraries, courthouses, Sheriff's Department stations, the stadium, construction sites, landfills and in county vehicles.
Around 1,150 county employees use tobacco, according to a UnitedHealthcare memo to the county. They won't be allowed to smoke in the courtyard or parking lot or even at adjacent properties, making it necessary to take a short hike to have a smoke break.
The policy is effective Jan. 1. Besides employees, the policy will apply to all visitors, vendors and event-goers at county properties.
"Tobacco-free environment policies protect employees and the public from over 4,000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens in secondhand smoke," County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry wrote in a memo to the board, quoting the UnitedHealthcare memo.
It will also help the county reduce its health-insurance costs as it moves toward self-insurance in the future, Huckelberry said.
A number of county departments criticized the plan during a feedback period.
The county's courts wondered if they'll have to allow extra time for jurors who need smoke breaks, since they'll have to walk farther to find a smoking place.
The Fleet Services Department said its employees will have to smoke on the city-owned sidewalk next to traffic or drive off-site to smoke.
The Environmental Quality Department said it'll be hard to enforce the ban in county parks, and especially at the stadium.
Employees will be given information about programs that help people quit smoking.
Contact reporter Becky Pallack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.