22 Aug 2014
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Spencer Looking to Ban Smoking at County Parks

Legislator says he hopes to limit exposure of children to people who choose to smoke.

Spencer Looking to Ban Smoking at County Parks

Those who enjoy a relaxing smoke at a county park might soon need to find another place to light up.

A bill introduced by Suffolk County Legis. William Spencer this month would ban smoking at all county-owned or operated parks and beaches possibly forcing those who enjoy cigarrettes to abstain from firing up a smoke on county land.

The 18th District lawmaker says with spring in full bloom and summer approaching, families should be able to have a healthy, tobacco-free experience at county parks.

“In an effort to limit the exposure of children to smokers, county law already prohibits smoking at county beaches," said Spencer, a Democrat. "It just made sense to amend the law to include county parks as well."

Spencer said smoking and the resulting health risks were the focus at a recent Suffolk County Board of Health meeting.

"I was informed that smoking is prohibited at all [state] and federal parks but that county law is silent on the issue,” said Spencer, a doctor.

According to the bill, the county smoking ban would apparently provide residents with the highest levels of protection from secondhand smoke and help to preserve park cleanliness.

The bill states that many smokers discard cigarettes on the ground when smoking outside, leaving unsightly litter which detracts from other residents’ enjoyment of county parks and beaches. 

No penalties or plan of enforcement is listed in the proposed legislation.

In Huntington, the falls under county jurisdiction.

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