Healthy Clark County Coalition and businesses team for clean air environments

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, August 26, 2023

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For those old enough to remember, areas for cigarette smoking were once commonplace in restaurants and other locations.

While efforts to create clean air environments have improved, some around Winchester want to do even more.

The Healthy Clark County Coalition is working to recognize local businesses for their commitment to creating an environment emphasizing clean air and other effective measures.

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“What we’re doing is promoting smoke-free indoor public spaces. It’s healthy for everyone [including] employees [and] customers,” said Kayla Walton, the health education planner for the Clark County Health Department. “We are doing a smoke-free business campaign, [in] which essentially any business in Winchester or Clark County that would like to apply can [do so].”

The Healthy Clark County Coalition, made of individuals from the Clark County Health Department, Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (ASAP) Board, and more, have been working to reinforce and acknowledge healthy practices.

Ron Kibbey, a Healthy Clark County Coalition member, advocated for a deeper understanding of health concerns related to unclean air.

Specifically, he pointed to the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke.

“People are probably pretty aware [of] the impact [smoking] could have on your health, but [not] of the impact of the smoke to somebody else who’s not smoking,” Kibbey said. “We just felt like it’s important to continue to reinforce that awareness and educate people because I don’t think people would consciously make a choice to do something that they thought would harm others.”

Using a local gathering as an example, Kibbey pointed out that at a recent Rock the Block event in downtown Winchester, a friend with asthma encountered symptoms after exposure to smoke from nearby.

Walton stated that others may be unaware of the dangers posed by alternatives such as vaping.

“A lot of people think it’s just water vapor, which we know is not true,” Walton said. “We include that in the smoke-free business campaign as well.”

Applying for status as a smoke-free business is a relatively simple process.

Through a Facebook page – Healthy Clark County – those who desire can access the following link:

From there, individuals or local business owners would answer several survey questions, such as the type of business they operate, whether or not they allow smoking or vaping indoors, and why they decided to become a smoke-free environment.

Many locations have already signed on.

Among them are Robin’s Place, Woods Realty Group, St. Agatha Academy, Infiltrator Water Technologies, Healthy Smiles of the Bluegrass, New Beginnings of Winchester, Winchester-Clark County Tourism Commission, Frames on Main and CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group.

Participating businesses benefit by receiving a newspaper advertisement, a radio advertisement and being highlighted on the Clark County Health Department’s social media pages.

They also receive a sticker from the Healthy Clark County Coalition advertising their involvement and a certificate showing appreciation for their commitment.

The Healthy Clark County Coalition continues looking to move in a positive direction.

“We really want our coalition to be seen in a positive light, and we want to be seen as supporting the community rather than…opposing businesses that do allow smoking,” Walton said. “We’re trying to come at it from a positive angle and supporting people that are providing smoke-free environments for their customers and employees.”