UTICA — Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced Wednesday that as of Jan. 1, local law will prohibit the use of tobacco products and e-devices on property owned or leased by Oneida County.
The local law prohibits the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, powdered tobacco or any other matter which contains tobacco, a news release said. The law also bans the use of electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes, or any other type of device that is composed of a mouthpiece, heating element, battery and electronic circuit that delivers vapor of liquid nicotine or other substances mixed with propylene glycol.
A person violating any provision of the local law will be issued a violation punishable by a civil penalty that includes a fine up to $200 for the first offense and a fine up to a $1,000 for a second and each subsequent offense, the release said.
“Smoking is a leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S.,” Picente said in a news release. “The enactment of this local law ensures that our county employees and the public are not exposed to the harmful effects of smoking at our county properties. It also promotes a healthier lifestyle for our employees by prohibiting the use of all tobacco products and e-devices.”
The law also prohibits tobacco and e-device use in vehicles used for county business, the release said. A driver may use a tobacco product or e-device in a privately-owned vehicle being used for county business, if the driver is the sole occupant of the vehicle.
Since the passage of the law, the Oneida County Health Department has been conducting an educational campaign for employees and the public to make them aware that the tobacco and e-device ban was forthcoming, the release said.
“Anticipating the county executive’s position to protect the health of County employees, the Oneida County Employee Wellness Committee was initiated over one year ago,” Phyllis Ellis, director of Health for Oneida County, said in a news release. “The committee assisted our workforce by scheduling smoking cessation classes and providing education to all employees and materials for the NYS Quitline.”