On Friday, July 15, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law that will prohibit smoking both cannabis and tobacco on the premises of every New York state-owned beach, boardwalk, marina, playground, recreation center, and group camps.

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Those who choose not to heed the new rules and instead light up on the restricted properties will be subject to the punishment of a civil fine of $50.00 per offense.

Not included in the bill are vaping and e-cigarettes however, the New York State Parks system as a whole generally prohibits the use of vaping products at state parks. Also exempt from the bill are the Adirondacks and Catskills, as well as the parking lots, sidewalks adjoining parks, and areas that are not used for park purposes.

According to Governor Hochul, many local governments and municipalities already have rules in place which restrict or ban smoking in public spaces but this additional penalty will help to enforce statewide smoking prohibition and include the civil fine which will be collected by localities.

Governor Hochul said, “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 continued by saying, “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.”

According to the office of the governor, in addition to the health issues that plague many thanks to secondhand smoke, the non-biodegradable filets of cigarette butts pose a major hazard to the environment and these filters are the item most often found during cleanup projects. By initiating this ban, the hope is that New York will be kept cleaner and that the environment will benefit as well.

The new legislation regarding smoking on state-owned property will go into effect 90 days from the date of signing.

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