About two dozen residents gathered at the Mecklenburg County Government Center on Monday night for a public forum on two regulations the county is considering. The first is a ban on smoking near government buildings. The second ordinance is a ban on all tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – on county parks and greenways.
For the most part, audience members were supportive. Dr. Sandra Burke is on the board of directors of the Charlotte chapter of the American Heart Association.
"I support your ordinances completely and I know that the ordinances are going to make a difference for the entire population and I do hope that the county commissioners will pass it," Burke says.
Health director Marcus Plescia says he wants to prevent teens from starting to smoke by making it less visible. He also wants to help smokers quit. He says 20 percent of Mecklenburg county residents are smokers. Plescia says his goal is to reduce that percentage by half -- to 10 percent -- by the year 2020. Another public hearing will be held in September 2 and county commissioners will vote on the ordinance on September 17.