Somewhere in Buffalo parks you may soon see a huddled group like those around the outside doors of office buildings. The city will be erecting "No Smoking" signs.
The legal push against smoking and vaping continues.
Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation barring the use of the electronic cigarettes on the grounds of public and private schools. The same day, Buffalo's Common Council approved legislation and swiftly sent it to Mayor Byron Brown to limit smoking to small sections of city parks. The city's Public Works Department will designate areas in each park where people can smoke, likely in remote corners.
Nora Galley is a rising senior at Mount Mercy and a Reality Check youth advocate. Galley and classmates work out in Cazenovia Park, near the high school, and is in favor of the ban.
"We can all enjoy parks with cleaner air, without toxic cigarette butts, plus this policy means that less kids in my generation will even start smoking in Cazenovia Park and beyond," Galley said. "That will encourage adults to reduce their tobacco use and build a healthier Buffalo overall."
Council President Darius Pridgen, who has had his own battles with lung disease, pushed through the measure when representatives from Roswell Park Cancer Institute told him there was no city policy against smoking in Buffalo parks.
"Cigarette smoke is a killer. It's a deadly killer and this measure would really help eliminate that threat, eliminate second-hand smoke exposure in our parks," said Roswell Research Scientist Mark Travers. "It will help the environment by eliminating the most common toxic waste that is put into our environment and it will even help smokers."
Pridgen said he does not want secondhand smoke interfering with the recreation, enjoyment and health value of parks.
"I'm not a smoker and I was not a smoker. Yet I have lost half of my lung through several operations because of smokers, basically what is known as smokers' disease," said Pridgen. "So this is a personal battle, but it is a battle for - when I say personally - for my children, other people's children, adults, seniors, anybody."
Mayor Brown is expected to sign the no-smoking measure.