Smoking banned in Dutchess County parks

Smoking will be prohibited in all Dutchess County parks as of July 9, to protect park visitors from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

In announcing the new county order June 29, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Our county parks are beautiful, welcoming retreats for families and visitors to gather and enjoy the great outdoors. We want to ensure the cleanest and safest environment, while preserving the pristine quality of a park visit. Smoke-free parks are a key part of a healthy community.”

The no-smoking policy will be in effect at all county parks, including Wilcox Park in Milan, Bowdoin Park and Quiet Cove Riverfront Park in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, the Dutchess Rail Trail and the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.

According to a 2010 Community Tobacco Survey conducted by Baruch College Survey Research on behalf of SmokeFree Dutchess, 77 percent of the county’s residents support restricting smoking in parks and playgrounds and 94 percent of them believe exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful.

Ellen Reinhard, the director of SmokeFree Dutchess, said, “I applaud County Executive Molinaro and Dutchess County government for taking this proactive step to creating a healthier environment in the county’s parks. The reasons for doing it are clear: even a little secondhand smoke can be dangerous, cigarette butt litter is toxic and clean-up is costly to taxpayers. Parks are meant for enjoying clean air, natural beauty and health activities.”

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