Suffolk County legislators want to snuff out smokers over on Long Island. Proposing ban on puffing inside apartment units in the county, in an effort to curb exposure to second-hand smoke. We need to protect the way of life of those individuals that want to live their apartment’s smoke-free, legislator Sam Gonzalez stated on Wednesday.
Several constituents, including parents of newborns and the elderly, have called up Gonzalez to voice concerns about their nicotine-addled neighbors, he said. They’re complaining that smoke is coming from a smoker’s apartment, from under the doors… it’s affecting their way of life, Gonzalez said.
Puffing on cigarettes is already banned in many public places but Gonzalez said this would be the first smoke-free law in the state targeting multi-family dwellings. I’m going all the way, Gonzalez said. If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right. Fellow legislator Tom Cilmi said the bill goes too far and has proposed his own, which would outlaw smoking within 50 feet of an intake vent. My bill is less time-consuming, it just seeks to protect those that might be impacted by a neighbor who is smoking near a vent, Cilmi. Smoking is legal, and if somebody wishes to smoke inside their own apartment, which they pay for, as long as its allowed by management company, then I believe that they should have the right to do that, he added. However, when someone’s smoking is infringing on someone else’s clear air, that’s where I see a problem.
When it comes to banning smoking inside unit’s altogether, he said, we’re not there yet as a society. But Gonzalez disagreed, calling the middle ground proposal, one that actually does nothing. It’s a waste of a resolution that’s not going anywhere and is still going to harm our constituents, he said.
Regardless, both bills will be up for a vote at the Health Committee meeting on Feb. 27.
If one or both are approved, they’ll then be up for a vote by the full legislature on March 3.