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Syracuse bans smoking in city parks

Smoking will be banned as of Oct. 1 in all city parks, including downtown public areas such as Clinton Square and Columbus Circle. The Common Council voted 7-2 today to impose the ban, and Mayor Stephanie Miner plans to sign it.

Sponsors of the measure, Councilors Bob Dougherty and Khalid Bey, said they delayed implementation until October to give Clinton Square festival organizers time to adapt. Beginning next year, it’s likely that festival-goers will be directed away from Clinton Square onto surrounding streets if they wish to smoke, Bey said.

The fine for violations will be $50, but councilors said they expect police to issue more warnings than tickets. Most of the enforcement likely will occur through “peer pressure,” Dougherty said.

Two councilors opposed the new ban. Councilor-at-Large Helen Hudson, who smokes, said cigarette smoke is an insignificant source of outdoor air pollution.

“Until we can find a way to limit all the toxins that are transmitted throughout our city and throughout our country — by vehicles, buildings, smokestacks — I think it’s a little short-sighted to target cigarette smokers,” Hudson said.

Councilor Chad Ryan, who does not smoke, said he does not think the city should tell people where they can smoke outdoors. “We do you draw the line?” he said.

Bey, an ardent non-smoker who has respiratory problems attributed to second-hand smoke, said the right to smoke should be constrained to limit the effects on non-smokers.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to legislate to cause people to be courteous,” Bey said. “Just as a smoker has a right to smoke, which they do, those who don’t smoke have a right to breathe clean air.”

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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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New York: Smoking Ban at Playgrounds Takes Effect

The next time you take your kids to the park, you will not have to worry about smoke filling the air where they are playing. A new statewide law prohibiting smoking at playgrounds between took effect last week. It applies at all parks between sunrise and sunset when children under the age of 12 are there.

The law aims to protect children from secondhand smoke. “Children should be able to run around and play at playgrounds without being exposed to smoke that harms their health,” said Jackie Shostack, coordinator for Tobacco Free Onondaga County. “This law is a common sense measure that should help keep playgrounds safe, clean, and free of cigarette butts.”

The new law does not prevent local municipalities from adopting anti-smoking policies that are more rigorous than the new statewide law.

On Monday, a State Supreme Court Justice ordered New York parks officials to tear down their ‘No Smoking’ signs posted earlier this year. By siding with a smoker’s rights group, the judge ruled the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation exceeded its authority when it prohibited smoking at various parks, including popular beaches and all state parks within New York City. Even though the judge acknowledged that secondhand smoke is ‘deleterious to the health of non-smokers and especially children, it doesn’t mean a state agency is empowered to regulate the conduct of park patrons.’

State Parks and Recreation officials issued a statement saying they believe they do have the authority to regulate outdoor smoking and they were considering an appeal of the court’s decision.

Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Secondhand smoke is responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 New Yorkers every year.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Tobacco News

 

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