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State fair officials ban smoking and vaping starting in 2022

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)
Smoking will be banned at next year's New York State Fair.

New York State Fair officials are banning all outdoor smoking on the fairgrounds starting next summer. The move follows the first ever year that smoking cannabis was legal outdoors on much of the 375 acre fairgrounds.

Fair Director Troy Waffner said he gets complaints about the smell of tobacco smoke every year when the fair is over. But the legalization of recreational marijuana this past year, made the issue more acute

"That generated a lot of concerns at an otherwise family event,” said Waffner. From families from couples, from just individuals, you would walk around the fairgrounds and you could smell the sweet smell of cannabis."

The new policy will restrict smoking of tobacco and marijuana, as well as vaping, to some designated smoking areas.

“If you’re smoking tobacco, vaping, or smoking cannabis, you no longer can do it on the fairgrounds proper,” he said. “We will have designated areas set up on various points of the fairgrounds. You can go there and smoke, but you cannot smoke on the fairgrounds proper.

Waffner isn’t sure where the smoking areas will go yet, but has an idea what of they’ll look like.

“We’ll make them adequate size probably 20’ by 20’ or something like that. And we’ll put benches and tables so people can sit comfortably. Unfortunately, we can’t put it under a tent or any kind of roof structure, because you’re not allowed to smoke under a roof structure."

Smoking is already prohibited inside the buildings at the state fair as well as the Chevy Court and Chevy Park Concert areas.

The new policy only applies to the State Fair. Promoters of other events on the fairgrounds will determine their own smoking policy. Onondaga County health officials applaud the move, saying it not only protects people from second hand smoke, but supports those who have quit or are trying to quit.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.