August 17, 2011 | 5720 views
No butts about it:
Smoking banned from LIRR platforms
Smoking is now officially prohibited on Long Island Rail Road platforms.
Citing the dangers of secondhand smoke, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law on Monday that forbids commuters from smoking on all MTA-operated outdoor train ticketing, boarding or platform areas. Cuomo joined a number of Long Island legislators, including Assembly Members Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) and Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead), in supporting the smoking-ban legislation, which was introduced by upstate Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) in early January. Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick) introduced the legislation in the Senate.
“It’s a good idea because secondhand smoke is a cancer causer,” Weisenberg had told the Herald. “[We need this] to protect the public, to protect our children from being exposed to smoke.”
When Jaffee first introduced the bill on Jan. 5, it seemed to fit into a trend growing on Long Island at that time to ban smoking in outdoor public places. The Hempstead Town Board voted in November to prohibit smoking at the town’s 100 parks, except in designated areas. In early January, the Village of Great Neck banned smoking on sidewalks in commercial areas. New York City officials prohibited smoking at public beaches, parks and playgrounds in May.
“Everybody thinks this is extreme,” Weisenberg said of the trend. “It’s not extreme. Smoking kills people. It destroys the environment.”
Smoking is already banned on all subway platforms in New York City and this law extends protections to LIRR and Metro-North stations. It takes effect in mid-November.
“Every day, thousands of LIRR and Metro-North commuters are exposed to harmful secondhand smoke each time someone lights up a cigarette while waiting for a train,” Fuschillo said in a statement Monday. “As the author of the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, I applaud Governor Cuomo’s support of such an important health initiative.”
Fuschillo authored the 2003 Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, and in public transportation facilities and vehicles. He now chairs the Senate’s transportation committee.