No smoking on MTA platforms beginning Sunday

November 9, 2011 8:16:26 PM PST
For years, smoking has been banned on the trains and in enclosed waiting rooms.

But a new ban means commuter can't smoke on the platforms, or even near the ticket machines.

"At least I can still smoke in my car," said Bronco Balac, a commuter.

Bronco Balac says he'll follow the new rule starting Sunday and stop smoking on the platform while he's waiting for his train.

"Why ban them all of a sudden in these places? Why not just ban cigarettes?" Balac said.

The outdoor smoking ban applies to Metro North stations in New York State and all LIRR stations.

"It's a small confined space, there's not a lot of space for nonsmokers to go and not be exposed to chemicals," said Rachel Moody, a commuter.

To educate commuters about the new policy, the MTA has enlisted the help of celebrities to make the announcement.

Some riders, including nonsmokers, wonder if this ban has gone too far.

"People wear perfume that's heavy and that could offend people. So I guess it's a little heavy handed," said Vanessa Price, a commuter.

Others think smokers are entitled to a break, especially with the recent delays due to bad weather.

"I feel this is going too far. Many people get frustrated that their trains are late or they're running late to an appointment," said Ray Liemer, a commuter.

There will be a grace period so when the smoking ban goes into effect on Sunday, anyone caught smoking will be issued a warning, not a summons.