RED HOOK, N.Y. — The town has expanded its prohibition of smoking on municipal properties to include vaping.

The Town Board approved the vaping ban during an online meeting Wednesday. Town Supervisor Robert McKeon said vaping was not recognized as a health hazard when Red Hook enacted its smoking ban in 2013.

“We want to clearly mention vaping because that is becoming an issue,” McKeon said. “We have had many instances of vaping at our recreation park.”

The ban prohibits vaping at town-owned picnic areas, sports areas, playgrounds and parking lots, as well as municipal buildings.

The text of the existing smoking ban says it can serve as a “role model” for nonsmoking behavior and protect the public from the effects of secondhand smoke.

“[On] court night, if it’s very crowded … oftentimes the parking lot can be quite full, and we see a lot of cigarette butts on the ground at the conclusion of court night,” McKeon said. “That indicates to us that, in a very sort of compressed area, there’s a potential for the public to be at risk.”

The resolution to add vaping to the ban was approved unanimously by the Town Board, though concern was voiced about the absence of penalties for violators.

“It seems to me that there has to be some kind of table of penalties starting with a verbal [warning]” and including “some ability to cite somebody with a summons,” Councilman Bill Hamel said.


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