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Moriah bans tobacco products at beach

PORT HENRY - It is illegal to use tobacco at Bulwagga Bay beach.

The Moriah town board formally adopted a tobacco ban at the town-owned facility during its June meeting.

"I think it's the right thing to do," Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. "People shouldn't be smoking on the beach.

"You go down there and there are cigarette butts everywhere," he said. "There are kids playing in the sand. We need to do something."

Scozzafava, himself a smoker, proposed banning smoking on the beach.

The ban is limited to the beach and applies to all forms of tobacco. Smoking will still be allowed in the adjacent Bulwagga Bay campground and day-use facility.

Scozzafava proposed the tobacco ban in May, but trustees tabled the issue to gauge public opinion. In June they voted unanimously in favor of it.

The ban will be enforced by lifeguards at the beach, Scozzafava said. If people fail to comply with a lifeguard's request, police will be called and an arrest made.

New York State law bans smoking inside all public buildings. It does not address outdoor spaces.

Effective July 24, 2003, the amended New York State Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The goal of the law is to ensure that all workers are protected from secondhand smoke.

Outdoor smoking bans are now growing.

The number of cities and counties that bar smoking in outdoor areas - including parks, cafes, concert venues, stadiums and beaches - has soared from 30 in 1999 to at least 1,124 today, according to the American Non-smokers' Rights Foundation, an advocacy group that tracks local ordinances.

Beaches are a high-priority for smoking bans because of litter concerns.

Cigarettes are the top source of debris in global beach cleanups led by the Ocean Conservancy.

One in five American adults smoke cigarettes, according to government statistics.

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