NY court upholds outdoor smoking ban at parks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A midlevel court has upheld the authority of New York park officials to ban outdoor smoking, reversing a judge and dismissing a challenge filed by a smokers’ rights group.

The Appellate Division, ruling unanimously Wednesday, says the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation didn’t usurp the Legislature’s authority with regulations that banned outdoor smoking at state parks in New York City and at designated areas at other parks around the state.

The five justices say there’s no specific legislative directive to restrict park smoking outdoors, but it’s consistent with the agency’s stated purpose – “to allow all patrons to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of its outdoor facilities.”

They note the Legislature has prohibited smoking at indoor public spaces and expressed its belief secondhand smoke is hazardous.