By Jano Tantongco
Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson has sponsored a resolution to ban smoking of all kinds at town-owned athletic fields in the town.
“A constituent alerted me to the fact that we had done it at the beaches and parks, and for whatever reason, athletic fields were not a part of it,” Cuthbertson said Monday, a day before a public hearing on the proposal was expected to be held during the monthly town board meeting at town hall. “They suggested it would be a good idea and I agreed.”
The legislation, aimed at curtailing second-hand smoke, would amend a previous law sponsored by Cuthbertson, and passed by the board in 2014, that banned smoking at town beaches. Before that, smoking was banned at town playgrounds.
As defined by town code, “smoking” includes both tobacco and herbal products, and vaporizing e-liquid.
Suffolk Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) joined Cuthbertson on Tuesday to announce the proposal, which he dubbed a “win for public health.”
“I think that it’s a wonderful thing, especially when you look at young athletes,” he said. For them to have “a smoke-free environment is essential.”
Spencer added that he has previously sponsored county legislation that banned smoking at county facilities, including parks and beaches. Two years later, he also sponsored a county resolution that raised the legal age to purchase cigarettes to 21.
Roger Snyder, a member of the board of directors for the Tri-Village Little League in Greenlawn, said that Little League already bans smoking as part of setting an example for children. He said it wasn’t an issue at their games, but still thought the legislation was beneficial.
“It sounds good to me,” he said, adding that the Tri-Village field is within a town park. “If somebody does [smoke], they go in the parking lot, but it’s extremely rare.”