Smoking habits must change for regional residents come October 1, when new clean air indoor air regulations will go into effect.

"Smoke gets in your eyes" no more, in all restaurants in the six-county area covered by the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, including Calhoun.

Patrons will experience 100% smoke-free environments, says Carrie Bainard, a smoking specialist with MOVHD. Bainard advised the Calhoun Commission of the new regulations yesterday.

Anti-smoking regulations apply to nearly all businesses and work sites. Smoking in public buildings was banned several years ago.

Smoking has been allowed in designated smoking sections for several years. No more.

Designated smoking areas are allowed at "a reasonable distance of 15 feet or more outside an entrance, exit or ventilation unit."

Smoking is still permitted walking down the street.

Restaurants can have smoking sections if they provide an area separated by automated closing doors and its own ventilation system, which has been described as an expensive investment.

The ventilation system must have an air exchange rate of no less than twelve times per hour.

New smoking regulations were passed on July 26th by the board, with local representative Bill Shock opposing the measure.

Bars and free standing video lottery rooms have until 2008 to become smoke free.

Others exempted from the smoking ordinance, private residences except when used for child care, designated hotel and motel rooms, bingo halls, retail tobacco stores that do not possess a food permit, conference or meeting rooms or public or private assembly rooms of motels-hotels and fraternal organizations while these places are being used for private functions.

Enforcement will be done by the health department.

Any citizen who desires to file a complaint, can call the health department.

The law says a Board of Health can issue a misdemeanor violation, which is subject to a monetary fine.

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