The Madison County Board of Health took a giant step towards outlawing smoking in most public and private establishments throughout the county.

Board members Wednesday night unanimously passed an amended Clean Indoor Air Regulation policy.

As part of the amendments, definitions for private club and smoking were changed, the definition of retail tobacco store was deleted, as was an exemption of where smoking is not regulated.

The amendments will be sent to the county attorney.

In making the amendments for a private club, board members said they are trying to eliminate smoke shops, private clubs that are created for temporary purposes to allow smoking and to prevent hookah bars from opening in Madison County.

Private club previously was defined as “any establishment that maintains selective members, is operated by membership, does not provide food or lodging for pay to anyone who is not a member or a member’s guest and is not profit oriented.”

The new definition states that a private club “means an organization, whether incorporated or not, which is the owner, lessee or occupant of a building or portion thereof used exclusively for club purposes at all times, which is operated solely for a recreational, fraternal, social, patriotic, political, benevolent, or athletic purpose, but not for pecuniary gain, and which only sells alcoholic beverages incidental to its operation. The affairs and management of the organization are conducted by a board of directors, executive committee, or similar body chosen by the members at an annual meeting. The meeting organization has established bylaws and/or a constitution to govern its activities. The organization has been granted an exemption from the payment of federal income tax as a club under 26 U.S.C. Section 501.”

The main purpose of the change to the definition of smoking was to include e-cigarettes.

Previously, smoking was defined as “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other combustible tobacco product.”

Smoking now “means inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette or pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, in any manner or in any form. Smoking also includes the use of an e-cigarette, which creates a vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking in this article.”

A definition of e-cigarettes was added to the regulation.

According to the amendment, an e-cigarette “means any electronic oral device, such as one composed of a heating element, battery and/or electronic circuit, which provides a vapor of nicotine or any other substances, and, the use or inhalation of which simulates smoking. The term shall include any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, or under any other produce name of descriptor.”

A retail tobacco store was previously defined to mean “a retail store utilized primarily for the sale of tobacco products and accessories and in which the sale of other products is merely incidental.”

That definition was deleted from the amended regulation.

Also deleted was the exemption for where smoking is not regulated.

The exemption had read that smoking was not regulated in “retail tobacco stores provided that smoke from these places does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under the provisions of this regulation.”

Tim Mandell can be reached at tmandell@richmondregister.com or 623-1669 ext. 6696.

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