Legislation S.4142/A.5061 Prohibits Smoking in Public Parks and Beaches

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.4142/A.5061) prohibiting smoking in all state-owned beaches, boardwalks, marinas, playgrounds, recreation centers, and group camps. Smoking in these designated areas will be punishable with a civil fine of $50. The bill exempts the Adirondacks and Catskills from the ban as well as parking lots, sidewalks adjoining parks, and areas not used for park purposes.

“Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects not only the smoker but everyone around them, including families and children enjoying our state’s great public places,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m proud to sign this legislation that will protect New Yorker’s health and help reduce litter in public parks and beaches across the state.”

Many municipalities and local governments already have restrictions or bans on smoking in public spaces. This additional penalty will enforce a statewide prohibition and includes a fine that will be collected by localities.

In addition to the health risks posed by secondhand smoke, cigarette butts are a major environmental hazard due to the non-biodegradable filters that are discarded. They are the leading item found during cleanup projects. Through this prohibition, parks and beaches will be kept cleaner and safer as will our local ecosystems.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “New York’s public parks are family friendly venues. No one, especially children, should be subjected to secondhand smoke while playing on a playground or enjoying the day at a public beach or camp site. Our parks also shouldn’t be tainted by non-biodegradable cigarette butts scattered throughout their grounds. I am proud to sponsor this legislation to protect and improve our beautiful network of parks and I thank Governor Hochul for helping New Yorkers enjoy the beauty of our parks by signing it into law.”

Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “New Yorkers head to our parks for fresh air and to foster a healthy lifestyle. Smoking is the opposite of that. I am very pleased the Governor Hochul has signed into law this important statewide ban on smoking in parks, and thank you to my colleagues for their vital support on this bill over the years.”