Chairwoman Statement Graphic

“While I, and most of my colleagues, are disappointed with the County Executive’s veto of the law banning flavored tobacco passed last week by the Board of Legislators, I am proud of the hard work of this body and public health advocates for pushing the conversation forward, and advancing the legislation further than before.

I am encouraged by County Executive Latimer’s commitment of $3 million towards a new Westchester Tobacco-Free Program and look forward to working with his administration to make it a success. The announcement of this program shows that we have moved the needle forward. We will continue to work for a healthier Westchester.

I applaud my colleague, Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson of District 8, for her steadfast leadership and tenacity in getting the bill passed through our Board during her first year as a legislator. I am confident that she will continue the conversation in the Health Committee and in future pieces of legislation.”

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee and champion of this bill, said of the veto:

“My disappointment cannot be put into words. The County Executive indicated the significant number of objections raised that cannot be brushed aside, and I counter with the tremendous advocacy in support of this ban that should not be discounted. Westchester County may have the lowest percentage of adult smokers in the State of New York, but this ban was meant for those disproportionately targeted by Big Tobacco.

The County Executive’s announcement of the Tobacco Education and Enforcement Initiatives with a $3 million investment is noble. However, it in no way compares to the billions lost due to tobacco-related health issues and loss of productivity in our state alone.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday to uphold the California ban on flavored tobacco, I feel the residents of California won while, with this veto, the residents of Westchester County suffered a setback.”