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Lawmakers Push To Ban Smoking In NYS Parks

State legislators are trying again to ban smoking in most public parks in New York state.

A.2299B, sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, would prohibit smoking in any municipal or state-operated park, with affected areas including beaches, boardwalks, marinas, playgrounds, recreation centers, group camps and property, equipment, buildings and facilities under charge or control of any state or local government. Some areas would be exempt from the law, including sidewalks immediately adjoining the park, parking lots, portions of the park not used for park purposes except where smoking has been specifically prohibited already by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Adirondack Park and Catskill Park are also exempted from the law.

Those found breaking the law could face a civil penalty of $50 for each violation.

Dinowitz wrote in his legislative justification that cigarette butts are not biodegradable, nor are the cellulose acetate in their filters. Dinowitz also cited a 2005 survey that found a majority of state residents support banning smoking at public parks. Jamestown is among the municipalities statewide that have banned smoking in its parks.

Localities throughout the state of New York are now acting to ban smoking in public parks,” Dinowitz wrote in his legislative justification. “New York City has passed legislation prohibiting smoking at all of the areas this bill encompasses. New York State Parks have prohibited smoking in areas outline in this bill and beyond.

Smoking is prohibited in certain localities in 57 counties in the state and almost every county has some locality with some public playground or park policies. This bill would implement a statewide prohibition on smoking in public parks keeping such precious places clean and safe from smoking.”

The legislation has been proposed in the state Legislature since the 2011-12 legislative session and passed the state Assembly in June. The legislation was not passed by the Senate, however.

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