ALBANY -- Smokers' rights advocates sued New York State on Monday, hoping to get it to remove outdoor no-smoking signs at parks.

The group said the signs from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation subject smokers to hostile confrontations with nonsmokers.

NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment said the signs are misleading since the Cuomo administration in May suspended planned restrictions that would be enforced with a potential disorderly conduct ticket at state parks, beaches, pools and historic sites.

"Since smoking is in fact not prohibited in outdoor locations on OPRHP property, the statements on the signs are false and intentionally misleading," the suit said. "The signs serve only to fool park visitors into thinking that an unofficial policy has the force of law that must be followed. The signs will also cause smokers to be subjected to hostile confrontations by non-smoking park visitors who will criticize, reprimand and ridicule them, and report them to the OPRHP staff and/or law enforcement personnel, because the non-smoking park visitors mistakenly believe that smoking is prohibited in outdoor areas."

Earlier this year, the agency said the initial no-smoking restrictions followed the common practice at several park facilities and was made as a consensus rule, which doesn't require public hearings. That changed after it received objections from the group.

Parks officials instead plan a formal rule-making to designate smoke-free areas in limited outdoor settings within its 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. They aim to ban smoking in places where many people congregate, such as playgrounds, pools and all state parks in New York City, though not in more remote areas like campgrounds.

Latest videos


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months