Law & the Courts

N.Y. County Legislators Propose Bill to Ban Smoking in Private Homes

(Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

Suffolk County is proposing the most stringent anti-smoking law in New York — banning private citizens from smoking in their own apartments, condominiums, and multi-family homes.

Legislator Sam Gonzalez, the sponsor of the bill, told a local CBS affiliate that he did not think the bill was excessive.

“It’s not going too far. We’re heading in that direction anyway. We can’t smoke in restaurants. We can’t smoke in buildings,” he said. “We can’t smoke inside the theaters. There are parks, there are beaches that you can’t smoke in. We are headed there.”

Suffolk legislator and medical doctor William Spencer agreed with the assessment.

“Let me be clear, any legislation that there is a vote required that would have an impact on preventing the public or innocent people who have made a choice not to smoke, from being exposed to smoke, I will support that legislation,” he said.

Two laws have been proposed to limit second-hand smoke in private dwellings — one being an outright ban, while the other limits smoking on balconies and patios where it could mix with public air. They are expected to be presented to Suffolk County’s Health Committee at the end of the month, before going to a full vote in March.

WLNY1055 reported that hearings are “expected to be heated.”

The local laws mirror a growing federal crackdown on tobacco, with the Senate voting in December to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 nationally as part of the $1.4 trillion spending package for the 2020 fiscal year.

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