A Tobacco Control Policy & Legal Resource Center
Supporting Smokefree Air & Tobacco-Free Lives

New York law prohibits smoking on playgrounds from sunrise to sunset

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On July 12, 2013, New York’s Governor Cuomo signed into law A4205/S1643-Chapter 102 of the Laws of New York 2013 which prohibits smoking at public playgrounds where children under twelve are present during the hours between sunrise and sunset. This legislation would not prevent local municipalities from enacting or applying more rigorous anti-smoking policies. This law is in addition to the May 2013 State policy that restricts smoking in certain areas of NY State parks; the State publishes their list of NY State park areas that are now smokefree.

Smoking in playgrounds creates a dangerous situation for children who may inhale large quantities of second-hand smoke. This smoke causes damage to our children during this highly important developmental period. In addition to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, smoking on playgrounds sets a poor example for all children. Young children are more likely to place items found on the ground into their mouths, such as discarded cigarette butts on a playground. This is a serious health risk for these children, as ingested discarded cigarettes are poisonous and could lead to severe medical ailments.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 126 million nonsmoking Americans continue to be exposed to second-hand smoke in homes, vehicles, workplaces, and public places. Almost 60% of U.S. children 3-11 years old, or 22 million children, are exposed to second-hand smoke. According to the New York City Department of Health smoking in select City parks declined by two-thirds between the fall of 2010 and the fall of 2011 one year after implementing a ban of their own. The Department also found that smoking-related litter on beaches declined by about two-thirds between the summer of 2010 and 2011.

Read more information about outdoor smokefree environments in GASP’s white paper or at our webpage.