NY Court Upholds Outdoor Smoking Ban at Parks

ALBANY (AP) -

A ban on outdoor smoking in New York parks was upheld Wednesday by a midlevel court, reversing a judge and dismissing a challenge filed by a smokers’ rights group.

The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, ruling unanimously, said the ban was consistent with the mission of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation — “to allow all patrons to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of its outdoor facilities.”

The five justices concluded the agency didn’t usurp the Legislature’s authority, noting lawmakers have prohibited smoking at indoor public spaces and expressed “its determination that tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, is hazardous to one’s health.”

The rules established no-smoking areas in February 2013 at various parks statewide, including popular beaches and all nine state parks within New York City. The city has a separate outdoor smoking ban for its parks and beaches, which had City Council backing and wasn’t challenged in this lawsuit.