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Smoking Ban Hits State Park Campgrounds

It wasn’t that long ago that you would get asked, “Smoke or non-smoking?” when you went out to eat. However, the times are changing, and many people are becoming educated on the adverse effects of smoking tobacco.

Over the past decade or so, there’s been quite a change in where you can smoke, especially in public places. 

In July 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation banning smoking in more locations, including state-owned campgrounds. How will this new legislation affect camping in New York? Let’s take a look.

Woman with cigarette

Why Is New York Banning Smoking in State Park Campgrounds?

From the 1930s to the 1950s, many believed smoking was healthy. However, we’ve since gained a better understanding of the long-term effects on humans. New York is banning smoking in state park campgrounds to create a healthier environment for campers. 

Governor Hochul said, “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.” 

Families won’t have to worry about smelling anything other than campfires while they enjoy their time in campgrounds owned by the state.

The decision wasn’t just about health for the governor. Hochul said, “I’m proud to sign this legislation that will protect New York’s health and help reduce litter in public parks and beaches across the state.” Many smokers were littering New York’s best landscapes with cigarette butts, which this legislation will help end.

Can You Be Fined for Smoking in New York State Park Campgrounds?

While smoking is a nasty habit, it’s also costly. The average price of cigarettes in New York is $11.96 per pack. However, this habit will get more expensive if caught smoking in a New York State Park campground. The S.4142/A.5061 state bill will punish violators with a $50 civil fine.

So not only will your lungs and overall health take a hit from smoking, but also your wallet.

When Does the Ban Take Effect?

As mentioned before, Governor Hochul signed the legislation into law on July 15, 2022. However, the legislation doesn’t go into effect until 90 days later, October 13, 2022. This allows time for signage to be put in place and for information to circulate to park officials.

Typically, law enforcement will issue warnings to individuals for a short period when starting to enforce any type of new legislation. However, this is typically on a case-by-case basis. So don’t press your luck and see what happens.

You might not be lucky enough to receive a warning and may end up with a $50 ticket. It’s not worth it!

Do New Yorkers Agree with the Smoking Ban?

The New York City Health Department has noticed a decline in residents who choose to smoke. The ban doesn’t just affect campgrounds but also includes beaches, boardwalks, marinas, playgrounds, and recreation centers.

These are all family-friendly locations that families should enjoy without smoke. As a result, New Yorkers seem to have overwhelming support for the ban.

However, you can never get everyone to agree on anything, and it’s no surprise the legislation also has some opposition. Those against the regulations don’t like the idea of the state restricting their ability to smoke.

Many also feel that law enforcement and government agencies already have too much on their plate and that it will be difficult to enforce and remove them from more important tasks.

How Many New York State Park Campgrounds Are There?

If you enjoy camping, the state of New York offers more than 8500 campsites throughout the 72 different state parks with campgrounds. You’ll find everything from primitive camping to luxury camping experiences. You’ll also typically find a picnic table, fire pit, and restrooms nearby. Whether you want to camp in a tent, cabin, or RV, there are plenty of opportunities to make memories in the New York State Park campgrounds.

Some popular camping locations around the state include ocean-front sites on Long Island. There are also the views Taconic and Palisades regions provide of the Hudson River and camping near the mighty Niagara Falls. Don’t miss your opportunity to make a reservation and get out in nature!

Campfire Smoke Is the Only Smoke You’ll Smell

The smell of a neighbor’s cigarette or cigar smoke could ruin your entire camping trip, especially if they’re chainsmoking for the duration of your stay. Luckily, New York is taking steps to ensure that campfire smoke is the only smoke you’ll be smelling when you stay in one of their state park campgrounds.

While many think of New York City when they hear New York, the state offers so much more than a massive city. There’s plenty to see and do outside of the urban environments. Getting out in the fresh air is good for the soul and might be just what you need to relax and refresh yourself.

Hike a trail, go kayaking, or watch the beautiful landscapes out in the wild. But most of all, get out and start exploring the Empire State.

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