A potential ban of tobacco use on property owned by Davidson County was tabled indefinitely Tuesday by the Davidson County Board of Health at the recommendation of outgoing health department director Layton Long.
Long announced he is leaving the department at the end of the month and advised the board to table the issue until a permanent replacement is found. Long had been at the department for seven years.
Long has accepted a job with the N.C. Division of Public Health as environmental health director and will assume that role in June.
Given his departure, Long said he saw fit for the board to educate a new director on the potential policy before moving it further. With roughly 29 percent of the county using tobacco products, according to health department data, Long told the board it’s important not to rush any ban but to stay on top of the issue.
“The tobacco regulation is something I think is an important public health issue for this community,” Long said. “I think it’s very important for whoever takes my position as health director to advocate for things that improve and promote the health of this community. Policy implementation is a proven method. If it becomes more difficult for somebody to indulge in a behavior, then they tend to move away from that behavior. I think that this is a big enough issue that the board should continue to support it, but given the fact that I won’t be here, that’s an awful big thing to take on.”