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NORTH VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. -- Nassau County Democrats passed a bill earlier this week to force candy retailers to put candy and bubble-gum cigarettes behind the sales counter, according to a report in Newsday.
Despite strong opposition from Republican county legislators and a candy manufacturer, the 10-9 party-line vote came after an hour of contentious disagreement. "Should we encourage 9-year-olds by legitimizing the candy cigarettes like real ones?" asked Republican John Ciotti.
But Democrat Roger Corbin, who proposed the bill, said its intention was to make it more difficult for children to get candy cigarettes that could lead them to the real thing. "I've had children in school tell me they thought it would lead to real cigarettes, and there is a study that supports that," Corbin said.
But Bruce Blakeman, the legislature's former Republican presiding officer, called Corbin's study a "survey" with no scientific, medical or psychiatric basis. "This is not what you were elected to do," said Blakeman, an attorney for Brooklyn-based World Confections Inc.
Minority Leader Peter Schmitt said he hoped somebody would sue because the Democrats just "slap together" such legislation and push it through, according to the report.