NY Supreme Court Judge George Ceresia has ordered state parks officials to stop enforcing a ban on outdoor smoking after siding with smoking rights group NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Harrassment, in a lawsuit challenging its legality.
While lawmakers enacted restrictions on indoor smoking, Ceresia noted that the State Assembly and Legislature’s attempt to established no-smoking areas at various parks, including all nine parks and public beaches within New York City* in February, the rules “failed to target smoking in outdoor parks.”
“Therefore, it is the court’s view, this is a strong indication that the Legislature is uncertain of how to address the issue,” he wrote, adding that the broad language of the state park law doesn’t empower the office to “promulgate rules regarding conduct bearing any tenuous relationship to park patrons’ health or welfare,” despite well-meaning attempts to protect the public from the effects of second-hand smoke at pools, beaches, playgrounds and other places frequented by children and adult visitors.
“It certainly was a vindication of individual rights in the face of government over reach,” stated attorney Edward Paltzik who represented the smoking rights group along with co-counsel Brett Joshpe.
In the meantime, the Parks Department is considering an appeal.
It should also be noted that New York City has its own (separate) outdoor smoking ban, which was not challenged by the lawsuit.