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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVI, Number 5417
Monday, May 23, 2011

NYC’s Parks, Beaches And Pedestrian Plazas Are Now Smoke-Free

Effective today, smoking is prohibited within New York City’s parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. The new law will reduce people’s exposure to secondhand smoke outdoors.

By supporting this legislation, Parks welcomed the chance to improve the beauty and health benefits of the city’s public outdoor spaces. Parkies throughout the agency work hard to ensure that tens of millions of visitors enjoy our public parks year round, and we hope this new law ensures an even healthier and cleaner experience at our parks and beaches.

We all work together to make parks cleaner and healthier places to visit, and cigarette butts have long presented challenges as a source of litter because they are difficult to pick up, especially at beaches. By eliminating smoking in parks we will not only make the visitors’ experience free of secondhand smoke, we will combat the litter problem.

The new smoking ban is a quality of life rule that is primarily self-enforcing. We're counting on all New Yorkers to comply just as they do with other quality of life rules. Parks Enforcement Officers, who ensure quality of life issues in our parks and beaches, do have the ability to issue summonses to those who do not comply with parks rules, and when possible will educate and advise before taking further action when overseeing compliance.

Over the next week, ashtrays will be removed from outside all our buildings and comfort stations, and no-smoking signs will be posted throughout our properties. Smoking will still be allowed on sidewalks outside parks, including the sidewalks that form the perimeter of parks and in certain parking lots in parks.

We all realize that smoking is a hard habit to kick, so we also want to make sure you know about some great resources available to those of you who make the decision to do so. To serve New York City employees who want to quit smoking, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offers an Employee Smoking Cessation Program (ESCAPE).

The ESCAPE program offers comprehensive quit smoking services to all New York City employees, their families, or anyone with whom a New York City employee lives. ESCAPE provides individualized counseling and smoking cessation medications free of charge. Parks employees may enroll in the ESCAPE program by calling 212-676-2393 Monday through Friday.

Already, ESCAPE has hosted workshops at several of our offices, and has a workshop scheduled at 5-Boro on May 31 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. for anyone interested in attending. Any employee who wants to quit smoking is encouraged to take advantage of this valuable free program to assure that they have the support they need to quit smoking successfully.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

“Happiness is when what you think,
what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Mahatma Gandhi
(1869 - 1948)

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