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Judge orders NYS parks to halt outdoor smoking ban

Albany, N.Y. (AP) A state judge has ordered New York state parks officials to stop enforcing their recent ban on outdoor smoking, agreeing with a smokers' rights group that the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation exceeded its authority.

State Supreme Court Justice George Ceresia said the February rules establishing no-smoking areas at various parks, including popular beaches and all state parks within New York City, isn't supported by any policy set by the Legislature.

The city has a separate outdoor smoking ban for its parks and beaches that wasn't challenged in this lawsuit. The judge noted that while lawmakers enacted restrictions on indoor smoking, the Assembly and Senate have attempted but failed to target smoking in outdoor parks.

Parks officials said they enacted the rules to protect visitors from secondhand smoke.

"State Parks has legislative authority to manage a wide variety of activities within state parks to balance often conflicting uses of our patrons," said officials in a release Friday afternoon. "We believe this authority extends to the regulation of outdoor smoking on playgrounds, swimming pools, beaches, and other locations where children and visitors congregate.  We are considering an appeal of the courts decision."

 
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Washington Times