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Norwalk Train Riders Disagree About Smoking Ban

NORWALK, Conn. – Opinions differed on the South Norwalk train station platform: Some people would not mind if Connecticut followed New York's lead and banned smoking from platforms but some don't want the ban. But two riders, heading in two different directions, didn't know each other and didn't meet but reached a consensus.

"I literally hold my breath as I walk through smokers," said Gayathrio Cedor of New Haven, who works at 61 Washington St. and was heading home Friday evening. "There's no way to get around it. It's not like there's a smoking section, and you can walk around it. You have to walk through it."

Does she think a ban would work? "That would be great," she said. "Or even like a smoking section, that way non-smokers could avoid it. People smoke right up until the second they get inside the train. You're waiting for the train, and it's raining and you're standing there, they're smoking right until the doors close and they stop it. So you can't avoid it."

"I think they should leave it the way it is," said Jake Reer, who was headed to New York. "I'm a smoker so I think you should be able to smoke a cigarette while you're waiting for the train. Maybe they should make, like, a section for smokers on the platform."

On Nov. 13, a new law was put into action in New York state that prohibits smoking on outdoor platform, ticketing and boarding areas at Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road terminals and stations, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority statement said.

"The new law is a benefit to our customers, helping us in our efforts to provide a healthier and cleaner environment on our platforms and in our ticketing and boarding area," Howard Permut, president of Metro-North, said in the statement.

One Norwalker wasn't impressed. "I didn't really think about it too much beforehand, but I'm not a fan of smoking, I don't smoke," said a commuter who would only identify herself as Fran. "But I guess it's a good thing."

The new rules cover only New York stations, not Connecticut ones. Currently, smoking is banned on all trains and in all indoor areas within a terminal or station.

There will be a grace period for smokers in New York as the railroad conducts an education campaign about the law change, the statement said. MTA police will give verbal warnings until the Rules of Conduct are amended for the railroads.

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