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State parks restricting smoking areas

Visitors to New York State's parks may soon be limited in where they can smoke, with restrictions going into effect now.

The new restrictions aren't quite visible because the signs are only now being installed.

They will go around playgrounds, pools, beaches and food and beverage concessions.

Western District Director Mark Thomas says the restrictions reflect fewer smokers and decisions about the health effects on those who smoke and those who are around tobacco users.

He says the signs going up will show symbols rather than words.

Thomas says that's because of the visitors from all over the world who will have to follow the rules.

"Just like when they go to restaurants or other public buildings, they don't have the option of smoking anymore," Thomas said.

"I think people everywhere are becoming more aware, at least in this state, indoor air is protected air, as well as certain outdoor facilities."

Thomas says the rules will be enforced by staff and, if necessary, by state parks police.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.