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Commuters Sound Off On New LIRR Smoking Ban

Local residents discuss the newly enacted statewide prohibition of smoking on outdoor railroad platforms.

If you're one of the many commuters that take the Long Island Rail Road to work every morning, then you most likely already know not to light up a cigarette while waiting for your train.  

This past weekend, a ban on smoking at all outdoor LIRR platforms, ticketing machines, boarding areas and stations went into effect.

And, so far, riders are responding resoundingly in favor of the idea.

"I think it's great. I'm not a smoker, don't like the smell of it and feel I shouldn't have to put up with it," said commuter Aaron Pell.

In fact, a brief, albeit non-scientific poll of strap hangers on Tuesday showed an overwhelming majority agree with Pell and are please with the state's decision to ban smoking on platforms and in stations.

"I'm all for it, though I can also empathize with the plight of smokers who just want a cigarette" said Marilyn Mandel, of Douglaston. 

State legislators decided to pass the ban in an effort to provide a healthier, cleaner environment for commuters, the rail road's president said.

"The new law provides positive impacts for health and safety as well as reducing the potential for track fires," said LIRR president Helena Williams.

Still, some riders are skeptical whether this new law will make much of a difference.

"I'm sure people are still going to smoke. I mean, who's going to enforce it, me?" Mandel said.

The MTA said it plans to fully enforce this new smoking ban.

In a statement released last week, the city announced: "MTA police will be issuing warnings to violators rather than summonses during a grace period while the education campaign is underway."

This education campaign includes leaflets dropped on seats inside the trains, posters in stations, customer email alerts and reminders on the MTA's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Plus, a bevy of new public service announcements with celebrity voices, including actor Alec Baldwin, football legend Joe Namath and TV host James Lipton, are already helping to spread the word.

In a few short weeks, MTA police will begin writing the summonses.

"I guess if that's what they need to do, then that's fine," said Jeff Davis of Douglaston.

To see a full list of MTA rules and regulations click here.

Candide08 November 17, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Just remember TWO things about smokers: 1. They are addicted to nicotine and NEED to smoke 2. They were the same people that smoked in elevators and started all the laws.
Tom Flynn January 01, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Those terrible (high tax paying) smokers - the 21st Century's version of lepers. Gay marriage is alright now in New York, the media celebrates these "Occupy Wall Street" losers, God knows what toxins are in food, water, and the air... but make sure those criminal smokers don't get to puff in the outside. Maybe we'll come up with some condemned building that smokers can congregate in, away from the real world. What a society we've become...

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