RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Is one suburban county going too far trying to legislate what residents can and cannot do in the privacy of their own homes?

Hoping to be the most progressive county in the state, Suffolk County is proposing a law that would snuff out secondhand smoke in apartment complexes, condominiums, and multi-family dwellings, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.

Smoking is already banned in many public places, and near schools and office buildings, but there are no smoke-free laws for apartment buildings, condos, and two-family homes.

“Let me be clear, any legislation that there is a vote required that would have an impact on preventing the public or innocent people who have made a choice not to smoke, from being exposed to smoke, I will support that legislation,” Suffolk Legislator Dr. William Spencer said.

FLASHBACK: Suffolk Lawmakers Approve Smoking Ban In Common Areas At Apartment Complexes

Spencer, who is also a medical doctor, said secondhand smoke can permeate through cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems.

Statistics show more than 3,000 non-smokers in New York die each year from heart disease and lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.

There are two proposed laws to reduce secondhand smoke in Suffolk County.

Legislator Sam Gonzalez is sponsoring the bill banning all smoking in apartments, condos, and multi-family homes.

When asked if the proposed legislation is going to far, Gonzalez said, “It’s not going too far. We’re heading in that direction anyway. We can’t smoke in restaurants. We can’t smoke in buildings. We can’t smoke inside the theaters. There are parks, there are beaches that you can’t smoke in. We are headed there.”

The proposed legislation has Suffolk residents buzzing.

“It’s impossible to enforce,” one person said.

“If they want to smoke in their apartment, I think it’s totally fine,” another person said.

“You should have the discretion, obviously, to smoke on your own property,” another added.

There has already been push-back, with many wondering if an apartment dweller could actually get kicked out, all in the name of good health.

“When I get the push-back from individuals that say, ‘No, you can’t stop me from smoking,’ I say ‘Why not?'” Gonzalez said.

The lawmaker added offenders could be fined up to $1,000 or even arrested, and that enforcement will be complaint driven.

Public hearings later this month are expected to be heated. Legislators said they expect amendments and modifications before the Health Committee considers the proposal.

Comments (86)
  1. Ginny says:

    It’s about time.

    It’s especially difficult when you live in an apartment building, condo or multi-dwelling building. It IS true that secondhand smoke can permeate through cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems. I live in a condo and this is very true. I’ve been stuck with smokers who live above me and it definitely affects my health in a horrible way.
    I HATE any form of smoke and what it does to my sinuses, throat and inner ears. It causes me terrible pain in my sinuses and throat and can bring on a Meniere’s attack (Tinnitus) in my inner ear which can last for 4-6 weeks. Yes, it really can!

    We all know smoke is not “contained” and others who don’t smoke shouldn’t have to suffer and become physically ill from it.

    “Smoking is like peeing in a swimming pool…it’s not contained.”

    Hundreds of thousands of people die annually from second-hand smoke. Smokers will say they have rights. What about people’s rights who don’t smoke and get sick from it?
    And to the person who said something about eating and drinking beverages. Eating and drinking beverages is not going to make someone physically ill like smoking can.

  2. “ When I get the push-back from individuals that say, ‘No, you can’t stop me from smoking,’ I say ‘Why not?’” Gonzalez said.”

    Petty tyrants like this ahole should never be allowed near power. They can’t handle it.

  3. john nolan says:

    Dumb Dumbocrats.

  4. JR says:

    “… and that enforcement will be complaint driven.”

    Boy that sounds like the makings of a great law. Enforcement based on nosey neighbors. Hey, why not keep pitting them against each other. It’s no secret municipalities are always trying to make residents spy on their neighbors. Not only does is provide free policing, but it puts everyone on edge.

  5. JR says:

    The anti-smokers say “if you want to smoke then go buy a single family home” but then if you say to them “If you don’t want to smell smoke then go buy a single family home” and they look at you cross eyed and then get angry that they “shouldn’t have to sacrifice”.

  6. Don says:

    Am I really supposed to believe that secondhand smoke can travel through the electrical and plumbing systems?

  7. Erich Soldat says:

    as long as the states and the Fed are collection taxes on smoking, there cannot be a ban like this or we have to outlaw smoking altogether… Land of the Free? HA- since when?

Leave a Reply