July 30, 2010 - According to information provided by the state Department of Health, there are more than 180 communities in New York that have passed resolutions banning tobacco use at parks and municipal grounds.
The City of Ithaca in Tompkins County, New York, as of August 1, 2010 no longer will smokers decide for themselves if they would honor a sign requesting them NOT to smoke. The new ordinance states that someone smoking in a smoke-free area can be asked by a police officer to move or put out the tobacco product. If the smoker refuses, a first-offense ticket is $75. A second offense is $150 and a third offense is $250.
The change actually won't help deter the motivated smoker outside the human services building -- it only applies 25 feet around city buildings and schools. But it will prevent smoking in a host of other locations, including bus shelters, playgrounds, small city parks, all natural areas and around mobile vending carts.
The City's Common Council first began considering a law forbidding smoking in certain areas outdoors in 2007. That year, a peer-reviewed study by Stanford University demonstrated that "under certain conditions, and these were not uncommon, you can be exposed to the same level of second-hand smoke particles outside as you can inside. (Study confirms the risk of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke at sidewalk cafes and other outdoor settings by Mark Shwartz, Stanford News Release, 5/2/2007)
For particulars on the smoking regulations see the reference below.
Including Ithaca there are four communities in Tompkins County that have passed resolutions banning tobacco use at parks and municipal grounds. The other three communities are the Village of Trumansburg, Town of Newfield and Town of Lansing. Trumansburg and Newfield both passed resolutions last year discouraging smoking in areas such as municipal headquarters and parks. Lansing passed its law forbidding smoking in the town hall campus, including around the library and community center and in the ball fields, in December 2009.
Surveys of Tompkins County residents, paid for by Tobacco-Free Tompkins, show strong support for restrictions on smoking. A 2008 survey found that 97.2 percent of county adults believe second-hand smoke is either "very harmful" or "somewhat harmful."
According to the survey, provided by Ted Schiele, the coordinator of Tobacco-Free Tompkins, 93.3 percent believe smoking should be banned or restricted to certain areas at public playgrounds, 85.4 percent believe the same about public parks, and 81.7 percent support smoking restrictions at public outdoor events.
Reference: New City of Ithaca outdoor smoking rules start Aug. 1 by Krisy Gashler (email@example.com), theithacajournal.com, 7/23/2010.