County commissioners are set to vote on whether to ban buy cigarette online products from the grounds of the county jail. The measure is on the agenda for the commission meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the county administration building in Bernalillo.

If approved, the ban would prevent inmates from using or having cheap cigarette online products. Staff members would be allowed to use and have them only in the employee parking lot. As it stands, inmates and staff can smoke cigarettes in outdoor areas.

Detention Center Director Al Casamento said the ban is aimed at creating a healthier environment for employees and inmates.

Commis-sioner Don Leonard said he supports the ban because the county must pay for health care for inmates, including state prisoners housed in Sandoval County. Removing cigarettes for sale use could curb health problems in both smokers and inmates exposed to second-hand smoke, he said.

"I'm sure it's going to be tough," Leonard said.

Some inmates are addicted to tobacco, so the ban will be a struggle, he continued. However, Leonard said taxpayers should get relief because they would pay for fewer inmate medical problems.

The ban would forbid staff, inmates, visitors and contractors from having or using tobacco inside or on the outdoor grounds of the jail or in jail vehicles, according to county documents. Inmates would never be able to use or have tobacco products, including when they were off-site under supervision of jail personnel.

According to county documents, inmates caught with tobacco could receive administrative discipline and criminal charges under the ban. Visitors and contractors are subject to revocation of their security clearance and immediate removal, as well as possible criminal charges.

Staff found with tobacco on jail grounds, except in the employee parking lot, could receive discipline up to and including termination, and might face criminal charges as well, according to the information.

If the commission approves the ban, it's scheduled to take effect June 4.

Commissioner Don Chapman said detention center staff must think the new rule is a good idea if they're coming forward with it, and he agrees.

"Smoking is hazardous to your health," he said.

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