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Syracuse lawmakers to vote on smoking ban in city parks and other gathering places

Sudipto Sarkar

The Syracuse Common Council will vote Monday on a proposal to ban smoking in city parks and other areas.

The ban would limit smoking in any areas the city parks department manages, so that includes parks where little league games are played, but also the site of many of the festivals that take place in the city, such as Clinton Square, Cathedral Circle, Hanover Square. 

That’s why Councilor Khalid Bey, one of the sponsors of the measure, says they’re putting off implementation of the ban until October, to give festival organizers a heads up.

“To allow them to plan, so it doesn’t affect them this spring or this summer, but they know coming in next summer, they have to have a plan in place to deal with those issues, and we expect the parks department will as well,” said Bey.

Martha Ryan of the Syracuse area chapter of the American Cancer Society says this kind of legislation has a huge impact on their goal of getting people to quit smoking.

“In Onondaga County we have about 18 percent of the population that are tobacco users," said Ryan. "Out of the 18 percent, about 70 percent probably have thought about quitting or want to quit. So when tobacco free legislation is enacted, it makes that person think, 'I have to try a little bit harder. I have to get the help I need.'”

Under the proposed law, anyone smoking in these areas would be subject to a $50 fine.