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Cigar store called on to comply with health law | Columbia County

GREENPORT – The town planning council has approved a proposed cigar and deli store on condition that the cigar store complies with a public health law.

The state’s public health law prohibits tobacco advertisements within 1,500 feet of a school.

The proposed cigar shop and lounge for 93 Ten Broeck Ave. would be 1,056 feet from Questar III BOCES Columbia-Greene Educational Center, 131 Union Turnpike.

The law prohibits the public display of advertisements for tobacco and vaping products and the display of smoking accessories within 500 feet of a school in New York City and within 1,500 feet in the rest of the city. ‘State. The public health law is a little over a year old. By law, businesses cannot have smoking ads in a storefront, window or exterior door used for public entry, or structure, within 1,500 feet of a school. .

In 2019, 7.6% of students in Grades 9 to 12 were cigar smokers in the United States and 2.3% in Grades 6 to 8, according to the CDC.

Roy Brown, who co-owns the building and plans to open the cigar shop and lounge, said he was aware of the law and was not worried about it. He specifies that he does not display the products referenced in the law.

“I’m not doing Juul,” he said Thursday. “I don’t vape. All I do is premium cigars.

Brown added that the law focuses on these electronic cigarette products, not its products.

“Basically the law focuses on these things,” Brown said. “They don’t want school-aged children exposed to tobacco products. If you were to walk past my store right now, you don’t see any of these ads in my store right now and you won’t see it in the new store.

But the law cites smoking paraphernalia, which is defined as any pipe, hookah, rolling paper, electronic cigarette, vaporizer, or any device, equipment, or device designed for inhaling tobacco or nicotine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines cigars as a tobacco roll wrapped in leaf tobacco or a substance containing tobacco.

An advertisement is defined as any graphic carrying a health warning required by federal law for the purpose of identifying the product used for the consumption of nicotine, in accordance with the law. The Federal Trade Commission mandated in 2001 that cigar wrappers and advertisements must display health warnings.

Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Monday that while the law clearly applies to cigars, the store’s sign does not count as an advertisement.

The law applies to Brown’s establishment “and it is very clear that it bans the advertising of tobacco products,” not just vaping products, Mabb said.

But Mabb doesn’t think a sign designating a company that includes the word “cigar” counts as an advertisement, he said.

The store’s sign with a cigar graphic and Brown’s truck with the store’s logo would be considered business identifiers, not advertisements per se, Mabb added.

The department verifies the placement of tobacco products and advertisements under its Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act, Mabb added. The biggest initiative under the program is tobacco checks, in which the department has a teenager trying to buy tobacco products. In the event of a sale, a hearing is held and a fine is imposed.

The civic penalty for the law is no more than $ 500 for a first violation and no more than $ 1,000 for a second or subsequent violation, according to state law.

Brown co-owns the building with Joseph Morreale, who plans to open an Italian grocery store in the same building.

The two men bought the building on May 5 but ran into an obstacle to start their business.

A tenant, Vanessa Martenson, owner of Red Barn Hudson, has not left.

The two men said his lease ended on February 15.

The new owners asked Martenson to end her tenancy, and failed, as Martenson’s attorney, Michael Kurz, of Kurz and Associates, insisted she had the right to stay due to the moratorium. on COVID-19 evictions. The owners are therefore waiting for the end of the moratorium to pursue their own businesses. Brown said earlier this summer he was seeking legal recourse, but said Thursday he had not been in contact with Martenson recently.

“She is there until August 31, when the moratorium expires,” he said.

Kurz said on Thursday that the men would have to start deportation proceedings after August 31, when the moratorium expired.

Martenson declined to comment.

Brown put an outdoor structure on his sitemap in case he decides to move in while Martenson is still on the property. He said on Thursday that he did not plan to use the exterior structure, that he was just wondering if he would be able to do so if needed, and the planning council advised him to add it. to his plan.

Questar III District Superintendent Gladys Cruz said Monday the district is consulting with the county health department on the matter. The district was not aware of the proposed cigar store and hopes the city will enforce the law banning tobacco advertising near the school, she added.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our high school students,” she said.

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