There is an evolving trend in making outdoor public spaces smoke free.

This is fueled by increasing proof of the dangers of secondhand smoke, discontent over cigarette litter, and an understanding that when tobacco use is less visible in the public landscape, children and teens are less likely to view it as a common part of adult behavior to which they might aspire.

Plus, adults who are trying to quit may be more likely to succeed when they are not tempted by seeing other smokers. Think of how the aroma of baking can pull on you to have a cookie or cinnamon roll! Now imagine that combined with the addictive power of heroin. That is what a smoker can be up against.

A survey of Tompkins County adults conducted in June 2008 yielded the following profile of local preferences for smoke-free outdoor areas:

  Among all surveyed residents,
% who support either restricting or entirely eliminating smoking  
Type of Outdoor Location Tompkins County 2006 Tompkins County 2008 Regional Average (2008)

Public playground

89.60% 93.30% 90.50%

Public building entryway

85.60% 89.80% 87.90%

Public park

74.50% 85.50% 82.60%

Public beach

76.80% 82.00% 81.50%

Public outdoor event

79.80% 81.70% 82.90%

SOURCE: Community Tobacco Survey of Adult Residents of Tompkins County. June 2006 & June 2008. Joel LaLone Consulting, Watertown, NY. Regional average compiled from June 2008 surveys of adults in the following CNY counties: Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Seneca, Tompkins, Wayne, and Yates.

Click here for more detailed survey results.

Defining smoke free outdoor public spaces

Local municipalities

Tompkins County: Resolution to support T-Free Zones (March 2007)

City of Ithaca: Resolution to support T-Free Zones (October 2007)

College campuses

Cornell University: Policy restricting outdoor smoking near buildings

Ithaca College: Policy defining designated outdoor smoking areas

SUNY Buffalo: Smoke-free campus, including green spaces and parking lots. or Download pdf (95K)

SUNY Morrisville: Policy restricting outdoor smoking near buildings or Download pdf (10K)

SUNY IT: Policy restricting outdoor smoking

Stanford University School of Medicine: declared a tobacco-free zone, with no smoking allowed anywhere on its campus.
Medical Center Report; Standford News Service story


Broome County, NY: designated play areas, athletic fields and spectator areas in Broome County parks designated as smoke free zones.
Download exerpts of minutes from their County Legislature meetings of April 19 and May 17, 2007 (pdf, 126K).

Watertown, NY: smoke free city playgrounds.
Download exerpts of minutes from their City Council meeting of June 19, 2006 (pdf, 135K).

NYS State Fair: Grandstand
AP news article from (Apr 8 08) Click Here

Across NYS: smoke free areas have been established in 25 counties, west-to-east, north-to-south.
Go to map and listing.

Calabasas, CA: smoke free city.
Download their ordinance, passed in Feb. 2006 (pdf, 79K).
Visit web pages related to their ordinance.

Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada: Protection from Second-hand Smoke By-law (PDF, 266K)

Ithaca Common Council committee looks at smoke free city areas

  • Ithaca Journal editorial: "Extending the smoking ban would be good policy" (Dec 26 07; PDF 96K)

  • News 10 Now: No smoking in Ithaca Commons? (Dec 18 07)

  • NewsChannel 36 WENY-TV: Smoke free Ithaca? (Dec 18 07)

  • Ithaca Journal: Council to investigate smoking ban on city lands (Dec 17 07)

  • Ithaca Times: A Smoke-Free Ithaca? (Oct 16 07)

  • Ithaca Journal: This year's Chili Cook-off is smoke-free (Feb 16 08; PDF 12K)

  • Ithaca Journal: Ithaca Reconsiders Smoking Ban (Mar 21 08; PDF 116K)

  • Ithaca Times: Smoke & Mirrors...A deeper look at the city's proposed smoking bans (Mar 26 08)

  • Ithaca Times editorial: How about a ban on legislating morality? (May 28 08)

  • Ithaca Times Guest Viewpoint: Smoke Free Sustainability (Jun 11 08)

  • Ithaca Journal: Inner Commons May Go Smoke-free (Aug 21 08; PDF 65K)

  • The Ithacan: Guest Commentary: Smoking ban would protect air and health


Legislation for smoke free outdoor public spaces

A resolution first came to the Environment and Neighborhood Quality Committee of the Ithaca Common Council, July 26, 2007, as part of Comprehensive Measures for Tobacco Free Public Spaces.

The original draft included: restrictions on smoking in specified outdoor public spaces; prohibition on accepting donations from tobacco manufacturers to fund city programs; prohibition on tobacco promotions or vending on city property; support for T-Free Zones; support for voluntary reduction in point-of-sale advertising for tobacco products.

The restrictions on smoking in outdoor public places was split off and assigned to a subcommittee of the Community and Organizational Issues Committee (C&OI). The subcommittee was formed at the May 20, 2008 C&OI committee meeting, with Eric Rosario appointed as Chair.

In 2009, the subcommittee was reassigned to the Legislative Committee of the Ithaca Common Council. The subcommittee reconviened in July 2009 after an eight month break. An update was reported to the Legislative Committee at their regular meeting on July 27. The meeting was covered in the Ithaca Journal on July 28.