In an ongoing effort to combat youth vaping and e-cigarette use, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin has proposed new legislation restricting the sale of vape-related products near schools, parks and playgrounds.
The proposed new laws, crafted in collaboration with local school officials and town board members, are expected to be introduced at a town board meeting Tuesday and then voted on March 23, officials said.
The legislation was announced by Clavin, town board members, community leaders and school officials in a news conference Monday outside a smoke shop in Elmont.
The proposed legislation would restrict current sales to at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks and playgrounds and introduce a zoning law to limit new smoke shops to light manufacturing and industrial zoning districts, Clavin said.
"It keeps them from targeting certain areas of communities, in residential areas. These e-cigarettes, they're deadly. Studies have shown it," Clavin added. "There's no way around it. … Everyone's seen these kids vaping, everyone knows they're getting these materials."
"The prevalence of vaping and e-cigarette use among underage children is not only alarming, it is dangerous," Elmont school board trustee Tiffany Capers said in a statement released Monday, adding: "As a parent and 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 youth in our communities."
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the results of the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey found that while e-cigarette use in 2020 was down from the year before, teen use remains "alarmingly high" — with "about 20% of high schoolers and 5% of middle schoolers" currently using e-cigarettes in the United States.
Among high school students, the survey found, 22.5% of all users use electronic cigarettes daily with more than 80% of e-cigarette users using flavored varieties.
If passed, the legislation would expand on the Town of Hempstead's current Anti-Vaping Action Plan, unveiled in 2020, which boosted code enforcement efforts and led to the introduction of an educational anti-vaping forum series at local schools and libraries, among other measures, the supervisor said.
Targeting so-called "retail electronic cigarette stores," as well as stores selling retail tobacco products, herbal cigarette and vape products, electronic cigarettes and accessories, the new legislation would force compliance by no later than Oct. 1, officials said.
With Howard Schnapp