Earlier this month, the Town of Hempstead unveiled legislation aimed at vapes and e-cigarettes. The proposed laws would prohibit the sales of both products near schools, parks and playgrounds through town zoning changes.
“Health and safety are certainly in the public eye more than ever, and we’re taking action to protect children and teens from accessing vaping products and e-cigarettes, which pose a danger to our youth,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin said in a statement.
The new legislation would prohibit retail sales of vaping or e-cigarette products within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or park. A second bill proposes a zoning change to restrict the opening of tobacco businesses, including those selling vape or e-cigarette products, to the light manufacturing or industrial zoning districts, also prohibiting those businesses from operating within 1,000 feet of a school, park or playground.
“The prevalence of vaping and e-cigarettes use among underage children is not only alarming, it is dangerous,” said Tiffany Capers, an Elmont school board trustee and staunch advocate for stronger anti-vaping regulations. “As a parent and a school board trustee, I am truly concerned about more students getting their hands on these harmful products, and we need to stop vaping and e-cigarette retailers from targeting the youth in our communities.”
According to a statement released by the Town, this legislation will expand upon Hempstead’s Anti-Vaping Action Plan, unveiled by Clavin and the Town Board in 2020, which includes boosted code enforcement efforts, an educational anti-vaping forum series at local schools and libraries, a multimedia ad campaign and a commitment to strengthening regulations to protect children from the harmful products.
As part of the plan, the Town will install “No vaping” signage in all town parks and beaches and a requirement of businesses that sell vapes and e-cigarettes to post proper signage stating potential health hazards of the products.
Businesses within 1,000 feet of a school, park or playground would be mandated to comply with the new laws by no later than October 1, 2021. The amendment to the Town’s Building Zone Ordinance would include “tobacco businesses” or “Retail electronic cigarette stores” or a place that is used for the retail sales of “tobacco products,” and/or “herbal cigarettes” and/or electronic cigarettes and/or vapor products either with or without accessory products.
A public hearing on the two proposals would be held at the March 23rd Town Board meeting.
“We take the medical reports and research of medical professionals about the harmful effects of vaping very seriously,” Clavin said. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues on the Town Board, as well as community leaders like Tiffany Capers, to introduce legislation intended to protect the health of the children in our communities. This is another important step in our fight against youth vaping and e-cigarettes.”