Smokers... need not apply! Flagler County has now instituted a BAN on lighting up...for ANY of the government's new hires. Channel 4's Elizabeth Campbell joins us live with more how the new policy is being received by smokers...and non-smokers alike ... Elizabeth? 3 3 These days there are more and more places becoming smoke free -- but one county in our area is becoming the first to adopt a smoke free hiring policy.Flagler County voted a week ago to prohibit smoking on AND off the job. I spoke with the county earlier today -- and they say they're excited about this new policy. 3 34-37SOT - 2130 it just makes good sense and good tax payer dollar sense to hire people who are not smokers TRACK - Starting October 1st of this year -- that is exactly what Flagler County will do. The commission voted August 19th to require all new hires to be tested for nicotine and prove they've been smoke free for at least a year. Flagler County Communications Manager Carl Laundrie says some people are reacting negatively -- saying it's an invasion of privacy -- but he says because the county is self insured -- the new policy will save tax payers money.SOT - 2103 were saving tax dollars by making sure the people we hire and studies have shown that people who smoke have a higher absent tee rate are sick more often and often times have a serious sickness because of smoking TRACK/PRE PRO - The policy will apply to all new hires in Flagler County run agencies. Current employees won't be affected by the new rules BUT the county will offer current employees who are smokers -- smoking cessation courses and any assistance they need to help quit smoking.People we talked to in Jacksonville had mixed to in Jacksonville had mixed emotions about the policy -- some say they feel it's too much government -- but others say they think it's a smart move.SOT - áá Will put in 2 MOS SOTS-- one positive, one negative. Flagler County will be the first one in our area to implement a smoke free policy. I haven't gotten a response yet from Duval County on whether or not they would ever consider a similar policy -- but Laundrie says he expects many counties to follow in Flagler's footsteps. 3 Elizabeth what about people who are trying to quit by using a nicotine patch?