ELIZABETHTOWN - Essex County may ban cigarette smoking on all of its property.
The county Public Safety Committee unanimously approved Monday the creation of an exploratory committee that could see smoking totally banned on county property within the next year.
The few supervisors and members of the press who smoke regularly cluster between committees outside the county board chambers.
And, Chesterfield's Gerald Morrow isn't a fan.
"I'm very biased against smoking. I have never smoked over my entire life and I detest the smell of smoke," he said. "If I had my way, there would be no smoking on these grounds, period."
County employees also regularly mingle around the county complex and smoke while on break.
The proposed smoking ban was hatched by Horace Nye Director of Nursing Cathy Reusser.
Even smokers, like Moriah's Tom Scozzafava, may line up to support the ban.
"Contrary to what you may think, I would support this. I've been smoke-free for about an hour now," he said. "We in Moriah have banned smoking at the public beach and at our little league fields."
Numerous Essex County towns have already passed local bans on smoking outside of public buildings and on municipal properties.
County Chairman Randy Douglas noted that if and when the county institutes the ban, it wouldn't be the first.
"The mayor of New York City just did this," he said. "It's happening all over the country."