Benefits of Tobacco-Free Spaces
In outdoor recreational areas including parks and beaches, tobacco-litter and secondhand smoke can be hazardous – especially for children.
Currently over 500 municipalities in New York State have made outdoor recreation areas tobacco-free.
- Protecting park users from the harmful and damaging effects of secondhand smoke exposure.
- Reducing tobacco litter.
- Providing an environment that supports tobacco-free living.
- Being responsive to the majority of NYS residents who support tobacco-free parks, beaches and other outdoor recreational areas.
See a list of Tobacco-Free Spaces in NYS:
New York Public Health Law prohibits smoking on all public playgrounds
Article 13-E § 1399-o-1, effective October 10, 2013, prohibits smoking between sunrise and sunset at all playgrounds in New York when one or more children under age 12 are present. The law also requires the prominent posting of signage.
Tobacco Free Outdoors Campaign
Tobacco litter is poisonous and puts children, pets and wildlife at risk.
- Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter.
- Nearly all cigarette butts are made up of plastic like cellulose acetate fibers and can take decades to decompose.
- Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals, leading to ingestion of hazardous chemicals and digestive blockages.
- Discarded cigarette butts contain the tars absorbed by the filter and levels of bacteria from smoker’s mouths and lungs. Therefore posing a health hazard to small children who often pick up items off the ground and place them in their mouths.
Objectives of the Campaign
This campaign is to educate New Yorkers about the benefits of tobacco free outdoor recreational areas. The campaign raises awareness of the environmental impact of tobacco litter. Similarly, the dangers of secondhand smoke and influence on children when tobacco use is not restricted.
Assistance for your community
Want to adopt tobacco free outdoor policies? The Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York can provide sample policies, signage and/or assistance in creating outdoor tobacco use policies.
Find your local ATFC partners to get started
Outdoor Tobacco Use Policies
Businesses and Cities are developing outdoor smoking policies. There is both scientific and legal reason to support creating bans:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Class A Carcinogen. Placing it in the same category as radon, benzene, and asbestos.
- Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances. Over 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans and many of which are strong irritants.
- The Surgeon General has declared that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke.
- United States Courts have declared that there is no legal “right to smoke”. Smoking is not a protected activity under the U.S. Constitution.
Other New York State Initiatives
Reality Check is a youth led movement in New York State that empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education.
Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York provides New York’s healthcare community with evidence-based education, training, and resources. This helps to treat their tobacco-dependent patients and help them quit smoking successfully. TalkToYourPatients.org
New York State Smokers’ Quit Line is free and confidential service. They provide services to New York State residents who want to stop tobacco use. This includes, motivational coaching, free nicotine patches, an online smoke-free community, educational fact sheets, materials and videos. Additional educational tools and cessation resources are available. Mainly to healthcare providers, employers, educators, and others. In addition, this also includes a referral program for tobacco users.