Tobacco-Free Outdoors

More than 500 municipalities in NYS have made outdoor recreation areas tobacco- and vape-free

Benefits include:

  • Protecting park users from the harmful and damaging effects of exposure to secondhand smoke (from tobacco, cannabis, or any other combustible smoking material) and aerosol emissions from electronic devices.
  • Reducing tobacco and e-cigarette litter.
  • Providing an environment that supports smoke-, vape- and tobacco-free living.
  • Being responsive to the majority of NYS residents who support tobacco- and vape-free parks, beaches and playgrounds.

New York Public Health Law impacts local parks 

NYS Public Health Law Section 1399-O-1 prohibits smoking and vaping of tobacco and cannabis products between sunrise and sunset at all playgrounds in New York when one or more children under age 12 are present. 

NYS Public Health Law Section 1399-O-2 was recently adopted to prohibit smoking of tobacco and cannabis in state-owned parks and parks managed by local governments, effective October 13, 2022.

Local governments are required to post prominent signage to inform and encourage compliance by community members.

Both these provisions have a similar goal―to make shared public spaces healthier spaces. 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 those who rely on the availability of safe public parks for recreation and socializing.

Communities can do even more!

To make local park policies more comprehensive, consistent, and easier to enforce, local municipalities can do more to make their property healthy and accessible. Local governments have the authority to expand the NYS Public Health Law provisions to prohibit smoking and vaping of both tobacco and cannabis in all areas of parks at all times. They can also prohibit the use of non-combustible tobacco and can make other municipal properties smoke-, vape-, and tobacco-free. To learn about 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, read this summary.

How we can help

CDTFC can provide hands-on help to municipalities located in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.

  • Telephone, email or in-person technical assistance, including presentations or information sessions.
  • Sample policies, sample outreach materials, and suggested timelines.
  • No-cost tobacco-free signage for parks and other municipal properties.