NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - New rules demanded smokers leave their butts behind when heading into state parks. But now a judge has struck down the move.
Signs posted all around Niagara Falls State Park forbid smoking in certain areas, but that doesn't stop some from lighting up.
Michael Mirpuri said, "It would be kind of stupid if they don't allow it because it's an open place."
Connor Martin added, "I don't think it's a big deal if you're not bothering anyone."
Kelly Nostrame opined, "People want to smoke outside they can and if you don't like it you can walk around them."
The new rule banning smoking was created by the parks office, but a State Supreme Court justice recently ruled the parks office does not have the authority to make that determination. In overturning the ban, the justice noted the State Legislature has tried but failed to target smoking in public places, like Niagara Falls State Park. Without any legislative support, the justice says this law can't be in place.
Brenna Manard said, "It just doesn't smell good. So you're going to walk home and be like, 'Oh, I went to the state park today and came home smelling like an ashtray.'"
She feels smoking should be banned from state parks.
"You're going to cause a lot of people problems if you're blowing it everywhere in their face," Manard said.
The parks office is appealing the decision, arguing they have the ability to regulate smoking in state parks based on their "legislative authority."
But some questions whether it could even be enforced. Off camera, a parks officer told News 4 he's not issued a single ticket for smoking in the park.
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