(09/30/2008)
The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department says they are expecting a smooth transition when the total smoking ban commences tomorrow in the counties which they cover.

At least three Calhoun businesses will be affected with a final ban on smoking, the Koffee Kup restaurant in Grantsville, the Millstone Inn and Calhoun's VFW Post in Grantsville.

"I think people are more used to the idea and we won't have much of a problem," said executive director Dick Wittberg.

Wittberg said, "We went through nine public forums and took a lot from what the public wanted for the rules and regulations."

Smoking will be completely eliminated in all restaurants, bars and free-standing video parlors, according to the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.

Smoking is still permitted in bingo parlors.

Darlene Rickard of Grantsville's Koffee Kup said the Koffee Kup's separate smoking room will be closed in compliance.

Rickard originally helped lead the fight against smoking regulations in private businesses.

The Koffee Kup's smoking section was allowed to operate for three years, using a closed-off, self-contained heating and cooling system.

"The room will be open only for over-flow and special events," Rickard said.

Martha Lamp of the MOVHD said "In order to ensure compliance with the act, environmental health staff will be conducting random inspections during normal business hours, after hours, and on weekends."

The health department said if complaints are received alleging a violation, an inspection will be conducted.

Lamp said there are plans to enforce the regulation, including a warning (1st offense) 2nd offense magistrate court, and if non-compliance continues, the case will go to circuit court.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department is a regional health department serving Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Wood counties, and the City of Parkersburg.

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