NYS recently amended Public Health Law to prohibits smoking of tobacco and cannabis in state-owned parks and parks managed by local governments, effective October 13, 2022.

Eliminating smoking in parks keeps the air healthy, prevents toxic tobacco litter from harming people, animals and the environment.  It  makes these spaces more accessible to people with weakened immune systems and respiratory diseases such as asthma, and to those who rely on the availability of safe public parks for recreation and socializing.

The amendment provision can be viewed here: NYS Public Health Law, Section 1399-O-2.

Already in place in NY is Public Health Law, Section 1399-O-1 that prohibits smoking and vaping of tobacco and cannabis in playgrounds between sunrise and sunset when one or more children under the age of twelve is present.

Both these provisions have a similar goal―to make shared public spaces healthier spaces. When taken together, however, these two laws create a somewhat confusing patchwork of regulation that local municipalities are required to implement. Fortunately, local communities have the authority to expand the provisions set forth in NYS Public Health Law to be more comprehensive, consistent and easier to enforce.

To assist local municipalities, we summarized the provisions of NYS Public Health Law (PHL) that impact local municipal parks, the benefits of extending the PHL protections to include e-cigarettes and non-combustible tobacco, and the benefits of making ALL municipal property smoke- and vape-free. That summary is available here.

Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities can provide free support to assist local governments comply with the new state law, including information and technical assistance, signage, and access to the Public Health Law Center which provides law and policy expertise related to commercial tobacco control.

For more information or assistance, contact us!