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New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (S.4142/A.5061) this weekend banning smoking in all state-owned beaches, boardwalks, marinas, playgrounds, recreation centers, and group camps.

Smoking in the designated areas is now punishable with a civil fine of $50.

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The bill exempts the Adirondacks and Catskills from the ban, along with parking lots, sidewalks adjoining parks, and areas not used for park purposes.

“Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects not only the smoker but everyone around them, including families and children enjoying our state’s great public places,” Governor Hochul said.

“I’m proud to sign this legislation that will protect New Yorker’s health and help reduce litter in public parks and beaches across the state.”

Many municipalities and local governments already have restrictions or bans on smoking in public spaces. The additional penalty enforces a statewide prohibition. The fine is to be collected by localities.

“In addition to the health risks posed by secondhand smoke, cigarette butts are a major environmental hazard due to the non-biodegradable filters that are discarded,” the governor’s office noted.

“They are the leading item found during cleanup projects. Through this prohibition, parks and beaches will be kept cleaner and safer as will our local ecosystems.”

“New York’s public parks are family friendly venues. No one, especially children, should be subjected to secondhand smoke while playing on a playground or enjoying the day at a public beach or camp site,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

“New Yorkers head to our parks for fresh air and to foster a healthy lifestyle. Smoking is the opposite of that,” Assembly member Jeffrey Dinowitz added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.