Modified: December 28, 2018 1:27pm

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Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center by Erie County Legislature Chairman Peter Savage (3rd District), Legislator John Bruso (8th District), NYS Assemblyman-elect Patrick Burke (142nd District), Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center President and CEO Candace Johnson, PhD, and Western Region Youth Advocate of the Year Zoe Kaminski as well as personnel from the Erie County Department of Health and Roswell Park as he signed the Public Health Protection Act of 2018. The three-pronged public health measure, approved unanimously by the legislature earlier this month, can be read here .


“As elected officials we are charged with protecting the health and safety of the public we serve, and the Public Health Protection Act is evidence of the seriousness with which we accept that responsibility. While the dangers of tobacco use have long been known, this Act takes protections against tobacco’s deleterious health effects to the next level, curtailing the usage and sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to protect children and non-smokers in public places,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “It is indisputable that tobacco use exacts a heavy toll on public health every year. I called for a prohibition on tobacco sales in Erie County pharmacies in my 2016 State of the County address and today I thank Chairman Savage, Legislator Mills, and former legislator Burke for sponsoring this Act and the members of the legislature for moving this legislation forward. Together we are working to protect the health of Erie County residents today and in the future.”


With the new law, any smoking in a motor vehicle with a child under the age of 18 present would be illegal. The Public Health Protection Act also bans the marketing and sale of tobacco or nicotine- containing products, including e-cigarettes, in pharmacies and other healthcare institutions. In addition, the Act prohibits smoking in or adjacent to NFTA bus shelters and the public areas near them. A fine of $50 will be imposed for the first offense and penalties will increase in $50 increments for each additional offense.


“It was my honor to co-sponsor the bipartisan Public Health Protection Act, working in conjunction with the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and my colleagues in the Erie County Legislature,” said Erie County Legislature Chairman Peter Savage (3rd district).  “It passed unanimously, and I applaud the County Executive for signing this much needed public health measure into law.”


“This common-sense policy is an important opportunity to save lives and protect all Erie County residents, from the youngest to the oldest,” said Candace S. Johnson, PhD, President and CEO of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Cigarettes are a burden on society like no other commercial product, costing the U.S. $300 billion in health care expenditures and killing more than 480,000 people every year. Tobacco is the only consumer product that when used as intended will kill nearly half of its users and expose anyone nearby to the same dangers. It’s both a moral and a practical imperative for us to embrace these policies as a community because they are the best way to prevent children and non-smokers from being exposed to toxic chemicals, restrict access to tobacco and put an end to retail practices that are luring children to become new smokers.”