Toward a Healthier You: On October 17, 2019, the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors updated the county ordinance to include no tobacco use on county property outside of buildings.
Toward a Healthier You: County of La Crosse Buildings and Grounds to Become
Tobacco and Nicotine-Free
(La Crosse, WI) – On October 19, 2019, La Crosse County will be joining 26 neighboring cities and counties that have made their properties completely smoke-free.
Following approval of the Board of Supervisors in October 2019, and effective October 19, 2019, county-owned properties in the downtown campus (Administrative Center, Health & Human Services, the Courthouse and the Law Enforcement Center) will be tobacco-free. This includes outdoor areas of the property, such as walkways and parking lots. The new policy expands the prohibitions of the use of any tobacco or nicotine product on grounds and property owned by the county including county owned vehicles. All tobacco products are included: cigarettes, little cigars, chewing tobacco and all electronic smoking/vaping devices. This policy applies to staff, visitors, vendors, consultants, contractors or volunteers.
To date, people who use tobacco have been required to go 20 feet away from an entrance of a county buildings to smoke. As employees, clients and visitors were being impacted by secondhand smoke, staff with the La Crosse County Tobacco Prevention Program researched smoke-free policies in other counties meant to protect people from breathing in unwanted smoke in an effort to bring a similar policy to La Crosse County.
“Diseases caused by secondhand smoke continue to kill over 40,000 people in the United States each year,” said La Crosse County Health Officer Jen Rombalski. “Smoke-free policies that address both indoor and outdoor spaces are some of the best ways to promote good health and protect the health of the public and county employees from secondhand smoke. “
Nearby counties such as Appleton, Buffalo, Juneau and Clark have all made their properties smoke-free. Appleton, Neenah, Medford and Wauwatosa made its city-owned buildings smoke-free. 31% of WI is protected by a Clean Indoor Air policy that includes e-cigarettes including Onalaska. View a map of WI Tobacco Policies. According to Tobacco Prevention Program staff, the La Crosse County new policy will not only protect the community from secondhand smoke, but will also make it easier for current smokers to quit with provisions for cessation programs. Additionally, the impact of the policy is expected to reduce tobacco waste surrounding county buildings and promote positive role modeling for youth and children who visit county facilities. These all fit into the county’s broader goal of creating a safe, healthy, clean, respectful and welcoming community.
Commercial tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. Tobacco use still costs Wisconsin $4.7 billion in health care and lost productivity.
For those with questions about the new policy, contact the La Crosse County Tobacco Prevention Program at (608) 785-9855. Those who wish to quit tobacco use are encouraged to call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or their medical provider.