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NYC smoking ban extended to parks

Associated Press / February 3, 2011

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NEW YORK — New York City’s parks, beaches, and even Times Square will be off-limits to smokers under one of the nation’s toughest anticigarette laws passed yesterday by the City Council.

“This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a beach not littered with cigarette butts,’’ Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The smoking ban will cover 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches, plus boardwalks, marinas, and pedestrian plazas like the one in the heart of Times Square. The ban goes into effect 90 days after Bloomberg signs the bill; the mayor has 20 days to do it.

States and cities from Maine to California have banned smoking in public parks and beaches, but New York is pursuing one of the widest-reaching urban bans. Smoking is also prohibited in Los Angeles parks and in Chicago parks with playgrounds.

Supporters of the New York ban said exposure to secondhand smoke poses health risks.

“The statistics don’t lie,’’ Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. “Secondhand smoke kills.’’