Onondaga County considers smoking ban in parks

Nov 16, 2012

Onondaga County lawmakers are considering the possibility of a smoking ban in county parks and the perimeter of county facilities.  But an initial proposal from the county executive's office needs to be whittled down before lawmakers will agree to it.

Legislator Casey Jordan says there's no one more opposed to smoking than him.  But he's not sure about the proposal that would ban smoking within 50 feet of the perimeter of any county building as well as in Onondaga County parks.

"You're telling people, something something they can do legally, they can't do in an open park?  You can be in the middle of Onondaga Lake Park.  There's acres and acres of county park, and you can be nowhere near anyone else, but you can be ticketed and fined 50 dollars for having a cigarette?" asked Jordan.

The Onondaga County Legislature's Health Committee had other concerns, including how the rule would be enforced, and whether it would apply to boaters who rent a slip at the county marina, or people who rent out a facility for a party.  Health Committee Chairman Danny Liedka says the law proposed right now is just too broad.

"It just covers so much real estate that it's not realistic to enforce the amount of real estate they're proposing," said Liedka. "We need to focus on county facilities as far as entrances and areas where there are children, or are enclosed.  And that's where I really think we can make this work."

Liedka expects it will be a couple of months before lawmakers and the county executive's office can fashion a law to put before legislators, but believes if the proposal can be made more specific, lawmakers will support it.

Currently, smoking is banned in Onondaga County buildings.