(MINEOLA, N.Y.) – Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé (D – Freeport) today filed legislation that would protect Nassau County residents from the annoyance and potential health risks of second-hand smoke and fumes from cigarettes, vapes and e-cigarettes by banning their use at most County parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and recreational facilities.
The proposal is also designed to discourage the sharp increase in unlawful vaping and e-cigarette use among young people, Legislator Mulé said during a press conference on Friday, Oct. 4. Health officials are continuing to investigate potential links between vaping and a recent outbreak of severe lung diseases that have sickened hundreds of otherwise healthy people and are currently being blamed for as many as 18 deaths.
“Through this legislation, we have an opportunity to clear the air at Nassau County’s beautiful parks so that families can enjoy these facilities without being exposed to plumes of smoke or vapors,” Legislator Mulé said. “I am committed to working with health experts, community advocates and my colleagues at all levels of government to protect public health.”
Currently, a 2014 administrative directive prohibits smoking in County parks, but does not address vaping. Legislator Mulé’s proposal will codify the expanded prohibition into County law and require the posting of signs at the entrances of all parks and open spaces stating that the use of tobacco, vapes and e-cigarettes are prohibited except in designated areas.
Further signage will be utilized to identify designated areas for smoking and vaping; those include sidewalks outside parks, parking lots provided they are 50 feet from the main pedestrian entrance; County golf courses and additional areas that are designated by the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Museums.
The restrictions would go into place immediately upon ratification by the Legislature and the signature of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who supports the proposal. Individuals who violate the smoking and vaping ban would face a $250 fine.
Ratification of this initiative would complement recent action by the Nassau Legislature. Spearheaded by Legislator Mulé’s colleague, Nassau Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D - Plainview), the County unanimously approved on Monday, Sept. 23 legislation that restricts advertising of age-restricted products, including tobacco, vapes and e-cigarettes, within 1,000 feet of facilities such as schools, parks and daycare centers. Legislator Drucker is co-sponsor of Legislator Mulé’s newest proposal, as is Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum (D - Great Neck.)
“The surge in e-cigarette use among teens and children is undeniable and grows more alarming as we see the negative health effects on people of all ages — and especially children,” County Executive Curran said. “I want to thank Legislator Debra Mulé for legislation that will safeguard the health of all residents and continue the progress we are making towards getting these unsafe products out of the hands of our youth.”
A video of the press conference can be viewed here: