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Maricopa County to eliminate all tobacco-based products from property in March

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County will be eliminating all tobacco-based products from its property starting in March, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

The county will be going tobacco-free on March 16, eliminating products — including e-cigarettes — from more than the 10.5 million-square-feet of office space that is entirely owned or leased by the county.

The policy will extend to the edges of county property, but will not include “perimeter sidewalks,” according to the article. All designated smoking areas and ashtrays will be removed from the property.

However, the new policy does not apply to office spaces that reside in buildings or areas owned by another property owner, such as the the office of Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

According to the article, England’s office is leased within a 20-story building that is not owned by the county.

“If our landlord chooses to retain a smoking area on the property, they can do that and we have no control over that,” England said in an interview with the Phoenix Business Journal.

The policy is not only expected to help the health of county workers and the air quality in the area, but it will also save taxpayers thousands of dollars per year.

“The average employer bears the cost of about $5,800 per year extra for every smoker they employ,” England said in an interview with the Phoenix Business Journal, attributing costs to factors such as increased health care and lost productivity.

Arizona has a history of making efforts to eliminate public tobacco use; In 2007, the voter-approved initiative Smoke-Free Arizona became effective, banning smoking from most enclosed public places and places of employment.

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