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August 19, 2016

Oswego County Legislature Approves Ban on Tobacco Use

OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Legislature recently passed Local Law Number 4 of 2016, which bans the use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes on county property. This followed a public hearing that was held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, just prior to the Legislature's August meeting at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse in Pulaski.

"This is a positive step forward that will benefit the health of our employees and residents," said Legislator John Proud, District 7, chairman of the County Legislature's Health Committee. "Studies show that smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, and e-cigarettes also emit pollutants. We need to be pro-active about tackling these important health issues."

The law prohibits the use of all tobacco products and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on all property owned or leased by the county. It takes effect in September and "NO SMOKING" signs will be placed in prominent locations near all property entrances. Any violation of the law carries a punishment of a civil penalty in the amount of $500, with subsequent violations punishable with fines of up to $1,000.

"Our first priority is to protect and promote the health and well-being of our citizens," said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. "Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are known health hazards. It will be a benefit to all, especially to children, to be able to breathe air free of disease-causing toxins."

He added, "This law includes e-cigarettes. It shows the Oswego County Legislature's leadership and determination in curbing conventional and non-combustion cigarettes. E-cigarettes are relatively new and many existing tobacco-related laws only pertain to combustion cigarettes. It is an important move to include e-cigarettes."

The intention of the law is to eliminate exposure to smoke and residue from tobacco products and e-cigarettes as well as to encourage smoking cessation among current smokers to promote life longevity and reduce disease and its cost to society.

Huang said the new law is an important part of the county health department's mission. "Good health is determined by a variety of factors which are also being addressed to help improve the quality of life for residents," he said.

In addition to Legislator Proud, other members of the County Legislature's Health committee include committee vice chairman James Karasek, District 22, Granby; Frank Castiglia Jr., District 25, Fulton; Heather DelConte, District 18, Volney; Margaret Kastler, District 1, Sandy Creek; Morris Sorbello, District 23, Granby; and Terry Wilbur, District 21, Hannibal.

For more information about the law, call 349-3545 or visit www.oswegocounty.com .

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