Smoke-Free Zones in NYC Parks Expanded for Summer

By Ananda West, Epoch Times
May 11, 2013 Updated: May 11, 2013

State parks and historic sites will see expanded outdoor smoke-free zones for the 2013 peak summer season, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

“Our state parks embody the rich, natural beauty that New York has to offer, and our residents should be able to enjoy them free of pollution from second hand smoke,” said Governor Cuomo in a press release.

Specific swimming beaches, pavilions and picnic shelters, developed athletic facilities, boardwalks, outdoor seating areas near food and beverage concessions, areas where outdoor environmental education programs are held, public gardens, areas where children or large numbers of visitors congregate, and within 50 feet of buildings, will be designated as non-smoking.

Areas around playgrounds and swimming pools are already designated smoke-free zones.

In addition, all state parks in New York City will be designated smoke-free parks to make their smoking regulations consistent with the prohibition on smoking in all city-run parks.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the public that they want expanded smoke-free areas to better enjoy New York State’s natural and breathtaking parks,” said OPRHP Commissioner Rose Harvey.

“Recent studies have shown that outdoor secondhand smoke can reach concentrations found in indoor areas particularly in places where multiple smokers congregate, such as near building entryways and outdoor eating areas,” stated Gov. Cuomo’s office.

Smoking in a smoke-free zone in a city park carries a fine of up to $250. Signs will indicate to the public where smoking is prohibited.

Areas where smoking is allowed will still be found at most campsites, open air picnic areas, parking areas and undeveloped areas within the 330,000-acre park system.