Seeking more of a balance between smokers' rights and health protection for non-smokers, Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer has modified at county-owned or operated parks and beaches.
Introduced to the Legislature May 8 by Spencer, the original bill made little to no compromises to smokers in an effort to provide residents with the highest levels of protection from secondhand smoke.
While remaining committed to limiting children's exposure to smoking, the 18th District lawmaker and doctor says smokers' rights are also important.
"I want them to have the same rights to smoke," said Spencer to Patch. "It should be the people's choice."
The amended law would allow smoking in some areas of county parks and beaches including parking lots and entry ways, according to Spencer. Receptacles would be provided in smoking areas to help cut down on litter from cigarette butts.
In a recent unscientific , readers were fairly split on the proposed smoking ban, with 53 percent in favor.
If the bill passes, those caught smoking in banned areas may be asked to leave by park employees but no other penalties will be enforced, according to Spencer.
Spencer's amended bill will go before the health committee Friday. A final vote is expected June 5.