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Proposed Tobacco Law Vetoed In Upstate NY

Chautauqua County Executive Mark Thomas vetoed a proposal that would have allowed police to confiscate tobacco products from minors, according to the Buffalo News.

Thomas said he applauds the legislature's desire to curb teenage smoking, but said, "This proposal does not accomplish that goal." County lawmakers approved the measure last month, the report said.

Thomas said he's concerned about the constitutionality of the proposed law after hearing from District Attorney James Subjack and the county Association of Chiefs of Police. Thomas cited a section that states police may seize tobacco products openly in possession of people under 18. "Openly in possession' means in plain view and could include in plain view through a window of a car or even of a home," he said.

Other factors in his decision included concerns about enforcement, liability issues and what Thomas described as "insufficient remediation and prevention" considerations in the legislation.

"This proposal adds no additional (tobacco education) component to the efforts already under way. There is no means of compelling the teen to attend anti-tobacco courses to consider the consequences of smoking," Thomas said. "The opportunity and desire to obtain more tobacco products is left unaddressed."

The County Legislature may try to override the veto at a meeting later this month. Seventeen votes of the 25 - two-thirds - would be required to overturn the veto.
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