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November 01, 2011

SC Now: Timmonsville prepares to go smoke-free

Link to original article.

By: John Sweeney

It didn’t take Smoke Free Florence long to use its smoking ban victory in the city of Florence as a springboard to bring its message to the county’s other nine municipalities.

Timmonsville Town Council authorized Town Administrator Mark Fountain to work with representatives from Smoke Free Florence and Circle Park Behavioral Health Services in crafting a smoking ban ordinance, joining Pamplico as the second municipality to begin the road to becoming a smoke-free community.

Clyde Nance, director of prevention aervices at Circle Park, said the difficulties and drawn-out debate surrounding the Florence ordinance were not expected when dealing with other cities and towns in the county.

“We learned some lessons about what happened in Florence and we’re trying to take those lessons and put them to good use,” he said.

Nance said the organization is pushing for a ban similar to what was passed in Florence that essentially prohibits smoking in most public places.

Nance was joined by Deborah Dunbar, project coordinator for Smoke Free, who said visits to Lake City, Scranton, Olanta and Johnsonville are planned in the upcoming weeks.

“Its kind of like the bigger picture for most people,” Dunbar said. “They look at (Florence) as sort of a leader.”

The project is funded by a $2.1 million grant Smoke Free Florence received over the summer that is designed to educate communities about the danger of tobacco use and second-hand smoke as well as assist local governments, school districts and counties to adopt smoke-free ordinances.

Nance said the grant has a relatively short window and Smoke Free Florence has only 20 months to implement the funds, which cease to become viable in March 2012.

“What we’re worried about is getting this all squeezed in and done before the end of the grant,” Nance said.

Timmonsville was unanimous in its decision to give Fountain authority to work with Smoke Free Florenceand design an ordinance that would best suit the community. Council members said they may hold first reading on the ordinance before the end of the year.

Nance said Smoke Free Florence hopes to reach all municipalities s in Florence County during that time and eventually approach the county about passing a county-wide ban.

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