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City of Cortland Enacts Law Prohibiting Retail Sales of Tobacco and Vape Products Near Schools and Youth Oriented Facilities

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The City of Cortland’s focus on reducing those using tobacco products and electronic smoking devices, has increased after the Common Council voted unanimously to limit the number of tobacco retail sale establishments within the City of Cortland.


Before the Common Council voted unanimously, a public hearing was held regarding Local Law No. 1 of 2024 with multiple people speaking in favor of the proposed law. Jennifer Hamilton, the Public Health Educator for the Cortland County Health Department first spoke, mentioning she was wearing two hats that night, one of the Public Health Educator and one of a mother of two teenagers.

Hamilton supported the proposed law saying she has seen the negative impacts of tobacco products and vaping within school districts. She also noted the new environmental issues vape cartridges will have. Others who spoke during the public hearing had the same viewpoints agreeing it can help reduce the impact of tobacco products within the youth age community.

The limitation will now restrict new retail establishments of tobacco products that are within 1,000 feet of a school or a youth oriented facility (ex: Youth Bureau, YMCA, YWCA). Current businesses operating in the restricted zone will be grandfathered in to operate, but any new type of business will not be allowed.

There are currently 18 businesses within the City of Cortland licensed to sell tobacco products, only four of those businesses are outside the restricted areas mentioned by the City as youth oriented facilities or schools.

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