Governor Signs Jaffee Train Platform Smoking Ban into Law

August 15, 2011

Albany – New Yorkers’ daily train commute is set to become safer to their health after Governor Cuomo today signed Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee’s (D-Suffern) legislation (A5516C) to ban smoking on Metro-North Railroad (MNR) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) platforms.

"Cramped commuters deserve protection from the proven hazards of second-hand smoke," said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern). "This ban is a tremendous victory for the health of New York's rail travelers, and I am thrilled the Governor has signed it in to law."

This new law will make it illegal to light up at outdoor ticketing, boarding, and platform areas of trains operated by the MTA or its subsidiaries. This ban will be enforced by the MTA, with violators subject to a $100 fine, and will take effect within 90 days.

Jaffee noted that the MTA supports the legislation, which strengthens an earlier MTA ban on subway platform smoking by expanding it to include Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad platforms. The MTA has received many complaints from commuters forced to share platform space with smokers both while waiting for trains and when disembarking.

The American Lung Association strongly backs the measure because their data shows the harmful effects of secondhand smoke can be magnified when people are forced into confined quarters such as train platforms, often aggravating the conditions of those with heart or respiratory ailments, such as asthma.

The New York state Department of Health estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for the deaths of 2,500 New Yorkers each year. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Those who breathe in secondhand tobacco smoke are exposed to 7,000 toxic chemicals and 69 known carcinogens.