We were disappointed to learn that on October 8, a New York State Supreme Court judge struck down regulations from the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) that restricted tobacco use in state parks and playgrounds. In his ruling, the judge said that he was not expressing an opinion on the wisdom of the regulation, but that OPRHP just did not have the authority to make the regulation.
While all of New York City parks and beaches remain smoke-free, this ruling affects the over 30 state parks in New York City and Long Island. Anyone heading up to Riverbank State Park or out to Robert Moses State Park to enjoy the fall weather may now also be breathing in secondhand smoke if sitting or walking near a smoker.
We believe the smoke-free policy ensures our youth can enjoy our state’s parks and playgrounds without breathing in secondhand smoke or see adults smoke. Kids should get a lesson on how to enjoy the outdoors, play baseball or swim, not on how to smoke cigarettes.
We need to renew our efforts to ensure that all of New York’s parks and beaches are smoke-free.