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Spencer Amends Anti-Smoking Bill

Legislator seeks to strike a balance between rights of smokers and health protection for non-smokers.

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.

FYI May 24, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Park employees better have a thick skin when telling smokers they need to leave the park. They will get an earful. What about fires? And barbecues? Smoke from those are also cancerous yet you will allow those where appropriate. By the way, what's your position on Matinecock Ct. low-income housing? Too difficult to have a position on that one? Better stick with your day job.
E May 25, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Wood and charcoal burning fires are not cancer causing like second hand smoke. Perhaps you should check your science. Only house fires and the like are harmful and it's due to all the synthetics used in today's furnitures and household items letting off harmful byproducts when they burn.
FYI May 25, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Here ya go! From another poster... Simon Chapman is a leading figure in tobacco control and Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Australia, who strongly support[s] smoke-ban policies indoors: "To me, 'going too far' in [secondhand smoke] policy means efforts premised on reducing harm to others, which ban smoking in outdoor settings such as ships’ decks, parks, golf courses, beaches, outdoor parking lots, hospital gardens, and streets. "[W]hile tobacco smoke has its own range of recognisable smells, there are few differences between the physics and chemistry of tobacco smoke and smoke generated by the incomplete combustion of any biomass, whether it be eucalyptus leaves, campfire logs, gasoline, or meat on a barbeque. Secondhand smoke is not so uniquely noxious that it justifies extraordinary controls of such stringency that zero tolerance outdoors is the only acceptable policy." -- Going Too Far? Exploring the Limits of Smoking Regulation, William Mitchell Law Review, October 23, 2007 http://publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/tclc-symposium-law-review.pdf And then there's Bloomberg, who unwittingly slashed his own throat with this correct assessment about a recent large compost fire in Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill: “There’s no health issues here, you have fires all the time, smoke goes off into the air,” Bloomberg said.
Posit This May 25, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Very dissapointed in Spencer modifying this bill. As an ent sugeon he has seen up close how smoking ravages body tissues and the lives of amokers and those who love them. Not to mention the HUGE cost it adds to the healtcare system. Smokers should have no rights. As an ex smoker myself, i can say there is nothing more i regret than having picked up that despicable habit. And before anybody jumps down my throat with the idea of outlawing drinking and eating because the kill people too--stfd! We need food to survive and alocohol in moderation is actually good for you. Smoking is TOTALLY DIFFERENT. There is absolutely NO POSITIVE HEALTH REASON to smoke and there is no amount of tobacco smoke that is good for you. Cigarettes do only two things---addict you and kill you. And the reason why cigarette companies make cigarettes addictive is to replace the customers they lose to dying from cigarette related illnesses. The ONLY reason why cigs r even allowed to still exist is because of their $$$ influence in Washington. Could u imagine if cigarettes never existed and you tried to introduce them now as a new product---ud never get FDA approval. Doc we have enuff politicians, if you really want to prove ur different go back to your original idea. You know in your heart you were right the first time.
douglas stretton May 25, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Hey Spence...nice effort to amend the bill but why was it drawn in the first place? We don't have California Wild Fires going on in the parks. And now...it's going to cost more money to provide recepticles to put the cigarettes in and provide cleaning. Truth be told...I've never seen a park littered with cigarette butts. Trash and beer cans...yes. Who enforces that, which can't be done. Perhaps you should take up arms on a real issue, if you want to benefit the people that elected you to office. Use your imagination...there's a lot of big issues to chose from.
FYI May 25, 2012 at 07:55 PM
If you can, take the time to read the linked report from my prior post. May give you a different perspective.
Free 2B Me May 25, 2012 at 11:52 PM
. 1. I have a disdain for the tactics Spencer used to get elected. 2. I like this bill. There are big things that need to get done too, but I can't believe it has taken this long for someone to make this proposal for Suffolk County. 3. I still have a disdain for the tactics Spencer used to get elected. 4. I am Free2B... me.
Laura May 30, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Suffolk county has alot of problems. Truth l do not care either way. High taxes, illegal red light cameras, gangs, drugs and crime many more. You are worried about smoking. Where does he live? Too many thing going on, i do not think that is why you were elected. Laura
Anthrnptr June 03, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Prohibition didn't work the first time

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