This page summarizes tobacco sales and use laws located outside of the Clean Indoor Air Act and the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act. For other types of NY laws that govern tobacco-related topics, such as insurance laws that mandate tobacco cessation coverage, visit New York State and New York City webpages.
Prohibition of all tobacco use on school grounds
New York Education Law § 409(2) prohibits the use of tobacco on school grounds. The law defines school grounds as “any building, structure and surrounding outdoor grounds contained within a public or private pre-school, nursery school, elementary or secondary school’s legally defined property boundaries as registered in a county clerk’s office.” Although this law overlaps with New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act, New York Education Law § 409 prohibits all tobacco use – cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and other forms of tobacco – while the Clean Indoor Air Act only prohibits smoking and vaping. New York Education Law does not contain a provision identifying how § 409 will be enforced.
Health education regarding tobacco use
New York Education Law § 804 requires all schools to include instruction discouraging the use of tobacco products, as well as alcohol and other drugs, as part of the health education curriculum. Under the law, instruction regarding the use of tobacco shall be included in the curriculum at elementary schools. At the junior high and senior high school grade levels, education regarding tobacco use must be included as part of a health education course. Once students reach the secondary school level, they are required to demonstrate their knowledge regarding tobacco, alcohol and other drugs through a test, graded project, or any other method school authorities determine is appropriate. Additionally, curricula must focus on substances that are most prevalent among school-aged
youth, and tailored to the age group. Information and resources may also be made available to parents regarding the warning signs and risks of substance use, and schools must have a designated and trained staff member to provide information to students, parents, or staff on accessing substance use services.
Bus drivers prohibited from smoking while driving
New York Education Law § 3624 prohibits bus drivers from smoking while transporting students. This law overlaps with New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) which prohibits smoking in any school vehicle used to transport students and employees. However, while the CIAA aims to reduce secondhand smoke, this law is intended to ensure passenger safety. Under New York Education Law § 3624, the Commissioner of Education is authorized to regulate bus driver qualifications, and the law requires the Commissioner to prohibit “smoking, eating and drinking and any and all other acts or conduct which would otherwise impair the safe operation of such transportation facilities while actually being used for the transport of pupils.”
Environmental Conservation Law
Environmental Conservation Law § 9-1101 permits the Governor of New York, by proclamation, to prohibit smoking in forests, woodlands, and other open lands when there is a danger of a forest fire. The no smoking proclamation is effective twenty four hours after the Governor gives the proclamation and remains in effect until the Governor rescinds it. Under the law, the Governor’s proclamation may be given in whatever manner he or she chooses.
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Regulations
Smoking is prohibited in any area of New York state parks as designated by the commissioner. Areas that may be designated as smoke-free include playgrounds, swimming pool decks, beaches, athletic fields, recreational facilities, historic sites, gardens and other areas in which visitors congregate, including within 50 feet of entrances to buildings.
General Business Law
Sale of liquid nicotine restricted
N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law §399-gg prohibits the sale of liquid nicotine unless it is packaged in a child-resistant bottle. Liquid nicotine is defined in N.Y. Public Health Law §1399-cc as a liquid composed of nicotine and other chemicals, and which is sold as a product that may be used in an electronic cigarette.
Display of products and advertisements restricted near schools
Effective July 1, 2020, N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law §396-aaa prohibits retailers within 1,500 feet of a school (or 500 feet in New York City) from displaying tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, vapor products intended to be used with nicotine, and smoking paraphernalia in exterior-facing storefronts if visible from outside the store. Further, these retailers may not display exterior advertising or in-store advertising for these products if visible from outside the building.
Crime to sell tobacco to minors
Under New York Penal Law a person will be guilty of unlawfully dealing with a child in the second degree if “[h]e sells or causes to be sold tobacco in any form to a child less than eighteen years old.” This crime is a class B misdemeanor. Those convicted of a class B misdemeanor face a definite prison sentence, set by the court, of up to three months.
Institutional Rules of Conduct (Prison Inmates)
Under the Institutional Rules of Conduct, prison inmates are only allowed to possess the amount of tobacco products that the facility authorizes. Inmates are not allowed to carry more than two packages of cigarettes with them, except when bringing tobacco products from the commissary to the housing unit. Smoking at the prison is only permitted outside and in specified areas. Inmates that violate these rules may be disciplined.
Public Transit Regulations
Smoking restricted on PATH property
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey restricts smoking in designated areas on its property. The Port Authority is responsible for the maintenance and development of transportation facilities that include airports, marine terminals and ports, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson corporation (PATH) rail transit system, tunnels and bridges, bus terminals, and the World Trade Center. Under New York law, smoking is prohibited on Port Authority property “in or about any area, building or appurtenance of an air terminal . . . or in or upon any area bulkhead, dock, pier, wharf, warehouse, building, structure or shed of a marine terminal . . . where smoking has been prohibited by the port authority and where appropriate signs to that effect have been posted[.]”Also, the law prohibits smoking on the deck of a ship and other kinds of floating vessels and equipment if it is affixed to a “dock, wharf, pier or to a vessel made fast thereto[.]” Violators of the law risk a fine of up to fifty dollars and/or imprisonment of up to thirty days for a first offense, a fine between twenty-five and one hundred dollars and/or imprisonment for up to sixty days for a second offense, and a fine between fifty and two hundred dollars and or imprisonment for up to sixty days for a third offense.
Smoking prohibited in Hudson tubes
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey rules and regulations prohibit smoking “on or in the Hudson tubes extensions.” The Hudson tubes are operated by the Port Authority Trans-Hudson corporation (PATH), a subsidiary of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. PATH is a heavy rail rapid transit system that serves as the primary transit link between Manhattan and New Jersey. Smoking is prohibited in PATH operated buildings and train cars and in other areas where PATH posts signage prohibiting smoking. Violators of the no-smoking regulation risk a fine of up to fifty dollars and/or imprisonment of up to thirty days for their first conviction, a fine between twenty-five and one hundred dollars and/or imprisonment for up to sixty days for a second violation, and a fine between fifty and two hundred dollars and/or up to sixty days.
Smoking Prohibited on Staten Island Rapid Transit
Under the Rules and Regulations Governing the Conduct and Safety of the Public in the Use of the Facilities of the Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority § 1040.5, no one inside a train terminal, a train station, or on a train may “burn a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any tobacco substitute[.]” Those in violation could be ejected from the facility or the train and could all receive a summons. Furthermore, police officers have the authority to issue a ticket to a violator and to eject the violator from the facility or train. Each violation of the regulation is punishable with a fine up to fifty dollars and/or imprisonment for up to thirty days.
Smoking Prohibited on the MTA Long Island Bus
The Rules and Regulations Governing the Conduct and Safety of the Public in the Use of the Facilities of the Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority § 1045.5 prohibits individuals from burning “a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco or any tobacco substitute in any indoor area within the transit center or on a bus[.]”Those in violation may receive an appearance ticket and/or could be ejected from the facility or the bus. Furthermore, police officers have the authority to issue a ticket to a violator and to eject the violator from the facility or the bus. Each violation of the regulation is punishable with a fine up to fifty dollars and/or imprisonment for up to thirty days.
Smoking prohibited at the NYC Transit Authority
The Rules and Regulations Governing the Conduct and Safety of the Public in the Use of the Facilities of New York City Transit Authority and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority §1050.7 prohibit individuals from smoking or carrying “an open flame or lighted match, cigar, cigarette, pipe or torch[.]” Those in violation of this law may face criminal prosecution in New York City. A City of New York criminal court may impose a fine up to twenty five dollars and/or imprisonment up to ten days. The transit adjudication bureau may also impose a civil penalty not more than one hundred dollars per violation, and not more than fifty dollars if the alleged violator fails “to make a timely response to or appearance in connection with a notice violation or order issued by the authority in such proceeding[.]” New York City Police officers or others designated by the president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have the authority to issue notices of violation for any violation of this rule.