The New York State Court of Appeals will be the next court to decide whether or not the state’s ban on smoking in parks–as well as several smaller parks in New York City–is valid, agreeing to take the case after the state’s Supreme Court, Appellate Division overturned a lower court’s ruling in Dec. 2014 and reinstated the ban.

At issue is whether the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation overstepped its bounds by implementing the ban, or whether or the ban is inline with the department’s jurisdiction of creating an environment that residents want to use while promoting the park experience. Previous legislation similar to the parks smoking ban has come from the state legislature, such as bans on smoking at public transportation waiting areas and playgrounds.

Leading the appeal of the ban is a group known as NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, or NYC C.L.A.S.H., whose attorney, Edward Paltzik, has called the ban government overreach and who maintain that such a ban must come from the legislature while also being more consistently enforced should it be enacted.

This will become the third legal challenge for the ban, which went into effect in Feb. 2013. In the fall of that year, a trial judge found the regulations invalid, but in Dec. 2014, that ruling was overturned and the ban was upheld unanimously by the five justices in the Appellate Division assigned to the case.

A decision is expected in March.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.