County committee OKs tobacco law

MAYVILLE – A local law regarding tobacco use on county-owned and leased properties is closer to going into effect.

The Human Services Committee reviewed a local law prohibiting the use of tobacco, tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and herbal cigarettes on all real property owned or leased by Chautauqua County.

According to the local law, the use of tobacco and tobacco products is prohibited for five reasons: To protect the public health, safety and general welfare by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke; acknowledge the needs to nonsmokers, especially children, to breathe smoke-free air, recognizing the danger to public health which secondhand smoke causes; recognize the need to breathe air free of disease-causing toxins in secondhand smoke; recognize the right and benefit to municipal residents and visitors to be free from unwelcome toxins; recognize the chemically addictive effects of tobacco, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes upon the public in an effort to improve public wellness and reduce health insurance expenditures.

The draft calls for the ban of tobacco and tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco, from county properties. And, it says any person who violates any provision of the local law shall be guilty of a violation, punishable by a civil penalty, not to exceed $2,000.

David Himelein, R-Findley Lake, questioned whether the local law would extended to smoking in county-owned vehicles. Steve Abdella, county attorney, said there are already local laws in place prohibiting employees from smoking in the vehicles.

Other legislators questioned how enforceable it would be to prohibit smoking in public parks owned by the counties.

According to the local law, signs would be placed on the properties. And, residents can call the Department of Health and Human Services to report smoking in prohibited areas.

The committee unanimously passed the local law. The full legislature will vote on it during Wednesday’s meeting at 6 p.m.

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