by John Callegari
Published: November 14, 2011
A new law banning smoking on the platforms of Long Island Rail Road train stations took effect Sunday, bringing some harsh penalties along with it.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick, and signed into law in August by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, extends existing smoking bans on all indoor mass transportation areas to outdoor ticketing, boarding or platform areas of train stations operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Violators will be issued a warning during an undetermined grace period while the new law is still being publicized. Beyond that grace period, violators could be subject to a fine of up to $50 and a jail term of no more than 30 days or both, the same penalties in force for current no-smoking rules on trains and indoor area within a terminal or station.
The MTA has commissioned an all-star ensemble of celebrities who will volunteer their time to help get the word out about the new smoking ban.
Those picked to publicize the new regulations include: former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, New York Ranger Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert, former New York Yankee pitcher Tommy John, WFAN sports commentator Ann Liguori, Long Island native and former New York Jets quarterback Jay Fiedler, Pro-Football Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea, James Lipton, host of TV’s “Inside the Actors Studio,” Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, Juliet Papa of 1010 WINS Radio News, actress Lori Singer, journalist Ken Auletta of The New Yorker magazine and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.”
The smoking ban also applies to Metro-North stations in New York, although those stations located in Connecticut are not subject to the new law.