By Danny Schrafel
Citing public health concerns and a desire to create parity with existing tobacco laws, Huntington’s town board on July 14 voted unanimously to ban the use of e-cigarettes at town beaches and playgrounds, adding to a list of banned smokables such as tobacco and herbal cigarettes, pipes and cigars.
Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, the measure’s sponsor, said the legislation was inspired by a proliferation of e-cigarettes.
“We’re seeing them now in lieu of traditional cigarettes. We had gotten complaints and concerns about them,” he said.
The legislation, which goes into effect as soon as the bill is filed with the secretary of state’s office, brings town policies in line with the county, which has since late 2012 banned vaping at its parks and beaches.
In addition, the county has restricted the sale of e-cigarettes – which contain nicotine but not tobacco – since 2010 to those of the minimum legal of 21. County law prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in any indoor public place where smoking is banned.
Pro-vaping advocates have argued the electronic devices are safer than tobacco cigarettes and could be used as a smoking cessation aid, but other experts, like but Dr. Stephen Dewey, director of the Laboratory for Behavioral and Molecular Neuroimaging at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, warned against that. In a May 14 Long Islander News report, he said research indicates that vaping weakens the body’s immune response.
Impacts of second-hand vapors remains largely unknown, Dewey added in that interview.