MTA platform smoking ban signed into law


As the New York State legislature wrapped up its business in June, it passed a bill banning smoking on all MTA railroad platforms. For nearly two months, the bill sat on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, and yesterday, he signed it into law. Smoking, all prohibited on all New York City Transit areas, is now a no-no at all MTA-operated outdoor train ticketing, boarding or platform areas, including the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

In a statement, Cuomo praised the public health benefits of the new measure. “It is important that commuters are not unwillingly subject to the dangers of second-hand smoke while waiting on train platforms,” the governor said. “Exposure to second-hand smoke can lead to serious health problems for non-smokers and this law will make outdoor MTA train platforms, ticketing and boarding areas a cleaner, healthier place for all commuters.”

Of course, signatures and proclamations are all well and good, but what about enforcement? Last night while waiting for a 1 train at Chambers St., I saw a woman in the subway puffing away at her cigarette with nary a cop or MTA worker in sight to do anything about it. Most of these commuter rail platforms are relatively empty for much of the day, and I’m not sure a bill that won’t be enforced too much will be a huge deterrent. Still, it’s a measure worth applauding for those who do not like to inhale other people’s smoke.

Categories : Asides, LIRR, Metro-North

16 Responses to “MTA platform smoking ban signed into law”

  1. Alon Levy says:

    I don’t recall ever seeing people smoke on the subway platforms, not even in New York.

  2. Scott E says:

    If it is true that there will be no more of LIRR riders taking drags at Jamaica (or on cold days, hanging out of an open train door smoking a butt while waiting for the connecting train) then that is a good thing. Smoking has been prohibited for a long time on subways and underground rail stations, but not on most of LIRR/MNR.

  3. Alex C says:

    Now if they can just enforce it. I’ve twice seen homeless men smoke in subway cars for the duration of my ride with no bother.

  4. David says:

    It would be even better to include a 5 cent filter-butt return deposit added to the state cigarette tax. You’ve just created an instant sidewalk, gutter, and street cleanup mechanism for the non-biodegradable cigarette butt.
    I really hate smokers for their thoughtless littering by the billions which is ugly and poisons wildlife.
    Smoke all you want outside, just stop being a Butt!

  5. Andrew D. Smith says:

    Why must legislators lie about the health aspect? There is next to zero health risk from second hand smoke on outdoor platforms, unless you choose to stand right next to smokers every single day and actually try to suck up the smoke they exhale.

    This is a simple case of a majority that finds smoking highly annoying imposing its will on the minority that likes to smoke. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. There aren’t any health hazards associated with music, yet it’s rightly illegal to blast your music on platforms or trains.

    But there’s no need to lie about the justification for the law.

    • AK says:

      The United States Surgeon General disagrees with your view about the health risks. In a 2006 report, the General reported that the scientific evidence was sufficient to conclude that there is “no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” See updated 2010 report at:

      That said, I agree with you that for many New Yorkers, their support of the plan is more aesthetic/environmental rather than health based.

    • Tara says:

      What about those of us who can’t escape the smoker. I for one have to endure standing on a platform with 3-4 smokers. When I ask politely for them to not smoke I’m looked at like I’m crazy, told “oh, I’ll go smoke down there” which down there is simply 5 ft away. Go smoke where I’m not going to be bombarded with the smoke or have to walk through it to get to where I’m going….

      I’m pleased with the outcome and just wished it would have taken place a long time ago.


  1. […] « MTA platform smoking ban signed into law Aug […]

  2. […] while awaiting a commuter train are coming to an end. Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a commuter rail platform smoking ban into law, and the MTA reminds us that this ban goes into effect on Sunday. Smoking will no longer […]

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