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Myrtle Beach moves forward with smoke-free program

Published: Oct. 21, 2010 at 4:17 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM EDT
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Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Starting Monday, smokers in Myrtle Beach will have to watch where they are lighting up.

Myrtle Beach city officials plan to move forward with new smoking regulations on Nov. 1 that ban smoking during work hours for city employees and prohibit the practice outside of city buildings.

City of Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said officials developed the new "no smoking" strategy as a way to improve the health of its employees, save on healthcare costs and clean up the outside appearance of city buildings.

"It's a customer service thing, as well as a neatness thing," Kruea said. "Cigarette butts are litter. The outdoor ashtrays are messy. Visitors should be able to get to a city building without going through a smoking area."

To help ease the transition into a tobacco-free lifestyle, the City of Myrtle Beach said it will begin offering smoking cessation classes for those who wish to quit. Employees who opt not to participate in the program will face a $40 hike in monthly health insurance premiums, starting on Jan. 1.

"Ultimately, we expect our folks will be healthier if they don't use tobacco, and that will save money for the city," Kruea added.

The new smoke-free policy was established by the Myrtle Beach city manager and will not need approval by members of the Myrtle Beach City Council.

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