4th-grader proposes legislation to ban smoke shops near schools

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The New Rochelle City Council is looking into legislation that would ban all smoke shops within 500 feet of schools, day care centers, children's institutions and playgrounds.

The legislation was proposed by a fourth-grader who is a regular at the Boys and Girls Club in New Rochelle. According to program director Will Ianuzzi, she pitched the idea to city leaders because she was concerned kids her age could become negatively influenced by repeated exposure to tobacco products.

The idea came out of a civics day meeting the members of the club had with elected officials.

City leaders didn't want to go on camera, but they are taking the proposal seriously.  The proposal is on the agenda at a public hearing next month.

New Rochelle smoke shop owner Al Debarra believes if the city was serious about limiting the influence of tobacco on kids, they would ban products at every store, deli and gas station - and not just limit their focus to smoke shops.

“What they want to do will not accomplish any good. It will hurt people and it will not help anyone,” he says.

If the bill passes, all existing smoke shops will be grandfathered in and not impacted by the legislation.

The public meeting to discuss the legislation is set for July 11.

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