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Rochester looks to toughen smoking ban

Rochester, N.Y. - New York State's new smoking ban takes effect next month.

It would prohibit smoking at playgrounds from sunrise to sunset when children under the age of twelve are present.

The city of Rochester is considering a law that would make all city parks and trails smoke free.

There's some data from other cities that have done something similar that show the effect of people who smoke, the litter and effects on the environment from cigarettes butts is another thing we're trying to minimize and just to protect our kids mostly, City Department of Recreation, Assistant Director Jim Farr said.

Farr cites data that shows to be completely free from exposure to second hand smoke in outdoor places, you must be at least 25 feet away from the source of smoke.

Farr also points to data that shows because childrens lungs are smaller; they breathe in 50% more air pollution than an adult.

When it comes to enforcing this ban, if approved, it may get tricky when it comes to Genesee Valley Park.

The park is split by the city and county.

On the east side of the river, the county runs the park which will observe the state smoking ban.

On the west side of the river, the city runs the park and wants to prohibit smoking all together, no exceptions.

So who will enforce that?

Farr said, It's not like we're going to have smoking police out there and when you cross the pedestrian bridge, someone's going to tell you to put out your cigarette.

Farr said if legislation passes, it will be more of a reminder for folks who want to light up outdoors.

Its more just reminding people that, be courteous of other people and if youre around children, dont be smoking, Farr said.

Farr also points out that most of the parks the city are smaller than county parks, which will enforce the State ban.

The proposal is something many support, while others are still on the fence.

I think it sends a message to families and the next generations that smoking's not healthy. It's not illegal but it's something you need to avoid, Michael Thomas said.

On the other hand I do feel very strongly about individual rights, Barry McKay said.

The city hopes to introduce legislation in November.

If it passes, it won't take effect until 2014.

Other tobacco free policies in the Rochester area include Brockport, Rush, Town of Ogden and Village of Pittsford.


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