The official board of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department appear to be "deeply divided" over newly proposed bans on second-hand smoke.

Dick Wittberg, executive director of the MOVHD, says the new smoking ban, which eliminates smoking in restaurants and most work sites, may not pass.

A second round of public hearings has been conducted in the MOVHDs catchment area.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Board of Health has 14 members with two members from each county in the region, including Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood, in addition there are two members from the Parkersburg City Council.

While the Health Dept. staff can propose a regulation, Wittberg said only the board of health can implement it.

The new proposals would update the clean indoor air act adopted in 1994.

The latest proposal would ban smoking in restaurants, which currently are allowed to designate up to 25 percent of their seating for smokers.

Bars could be exempt from the smoking regulations, while they prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from entering.

Smoking would not be allowed within 15 feet of the entrance to any building used by the public, although smokers who are moving down the sidewalks of a town or village would not be affected.

Persons wishing to comment on the proposal may write to the health department at 211 Sixth St., Parkersburg WV 26101 or submit comments through the department's Web site at movhd.com

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