Kent Co. VFW Considers Going Smoke-Free - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent Co. VFW Considers Going Smoke-Free

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

CAMDEN, Del. (WBOC) - A Kent County VFW post is considering going smoke-free.

Places like a VFW don't have to ban smoking. They are exempt from Delaware's Clean Indoor Air Act. But that doesn't mean they can't decide on their own to make their establishment's smoke-free. That's exactly what VFW Post 3238 in Camden is thinking about doing.

Lots of people circled the post's canteen bar Friday afternoon, including Erika Reigle. She has been coming in a few times a week on and off for years.

"We have a drink and then we put a little money in the machines," she said.

And she has a smoke. That's something she wouldn't be able to do if the VFW decides to go smoke-free.

"We'd sit around the bar, smoke, talk," said Mark Newman, a former smoker and the post's quartermaster.

He says that was about camaraderie and so is this proposal.

"It's not about rights. It's not about taking away something. It's about thinking about your comrade."

The VFW's meeting hall is already smoke-free. The canteen smoking ban will come up at the post's monthly membership meeting on Tuesday.

Post Commander Marc Garduno says if going smoke-free gets the go-ahead, this post will be the first in the Dover area to do so. He says making the canteen that way too is about the stigma places like a VFW bar can have.

"That's something that we need to try to change, bring it forward, bring it to where we are today," he said. "The current military member is going to the veteran of foreign war in 20 years. And we need to do what we can to accommodate that."

Reigle says she'd prefer to be able to smoke. But she'll understand if things change.

"It doesn't bother us. But if you can, we do."

Back in 2014, a state lawmaker floated a bill to add clubs like these and fire halls to Delaware's Clean Indoor Air Act. That bill did not go anywhere at Legislative Hall.

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