NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Mayor David Gillock said he always hated having to walk through “a cloud of smoke” outside public facilities or stores.
“It’s rude,” Gillock said when he first detailed the city’s plans to ban smoking by city employees at City Hall, the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Service Department and French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant nearly a year ago.
That ban, which bars city workers from smoking on city grounds or any facility leased or rented by the city, goes into effect Jan. 1.
Of the about 208 people employed by the city, fewer than 30 smoke, according to Gillock.
“It wasn’t a lot to begin with,” Gillock said.
The intervening year has seen some smokers tell the mayor they feel the move is a good one that should benefit everyone’s health and work environment overall.
“There hasn’t been much blowback over this,” Gillock said.
Some employees who smoke have approached the city for information and access to resources to help them quit including the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line, and smoking cessation programs offered by University Hospitals Elyria Regional Medical Center, Mercy Regional Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.
The ban, which also includes e-cigarettes, in or outside of city facilities seemed a natural extension of action taken in 2015 to prohibit smoking at South Central Park along with other city parks and sports complexes including the Shady Drive baseball complex off Sugar Ridge Road.
The city began working with the Lorain County General Health District in 2015 on ways of promoting healthier lifestyles that led to the North Ridgeville Heart and Sole Challenge which encourages walking along city sidewalks, in parks, and over an expanding network of pedestrian and bike paths.
Any city worker who doesn’t comply with the ban will first be talked with about the ban and reasons for it.
Verbal and written warnings could follow, but Gillock doubts there will be any need for such steps.
“I don’t we’ll need any of that,” Gillock said. “Everyone seems to be very understanding of what we’re trying to do here.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.