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Huntington considers banning smoking at its town beaches

Mark Cuthbertson, member of the Huntington Town council.

Mark Cuthbertson, member of the Huntington Town council. (June 26, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Huntington Town officials are considering a ban on smoking at its eight beaches.

The board plans to schedule a public hearing at Tuesday's town meeting on the idea.

"We want to hear from people about how they feel about it," said town board member Mark Cuthbertson, sponsor of the resolution. "We all know the harmful effects of secondary smoke, and while I think these are mitigated by some degree by being outside, when people are in close proximity on the beach there is still a concern."

He said the parking lots of the beaches would be exempt.

"This way people who want to smoke, just go to the parking lot," Cuthbertson said.

Specific details of the resolution such as the amount of the fine, time frame and enforcement were not yet available. But the resolution cites public health officials, medical research and published studies as part of the town's desire to protect the health and welfare of those who use the town's beaches. Currently, smoking is banned in town playgrounds, officials said.

In 2012, Babylon's town board banned smoking and tobacco use in town parks, playgrounds, beaches and ballfields. The bill cited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults.

At the time, Babylon Town officials also cited the nuisance of cigarette litter at the town's free summer concerts and in the sand at Overlook Beach.Town safety officers enforce the law, which carries a fine of up to $250.

The public hearing will likely be scheduled for the 7 p.m. Aug. 19 town board meeting, Huntington town spokesman A.J. Carter said.

The Huntington Town Board will also hold a public hearing Tuesday on a revised proposal to require carbon monoxide detectors at places of public assembly.Tuesday's meeting is at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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