Moriah may ban smoking at beach

PORT HENRY - Smoking may soon be prohibited at Bulwagga Bay beach in Port Henry.

The Moriah town board is mulling a smoking ban at the town-owned facility.

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

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

"I don't think it's an inconvenience for people to step off the beach to smoke," he said.

Scozzafava stressed his proposal is limited to the beach. Smoking would still be allowed in the adjacent Bulwagga Bay campground and day-use facility.

Trustees supported the idea, but wanted to get public feedback before making a final decision. The issue was tabled until the board's June meeting.

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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