According to Boston.com, 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.
Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill by the end of the month, and the ban will go into effect 90 days thereafter. He was delighted after a 36-12 vote.
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.
This push follows the 2002 smoking ban in New York restaurants and bars. The new ban will see smokers fined about $50 if decide to light up in a pedestrian area. The council is hoping to reduce exposure to second hand smoke. However, the ban is not going to be strongly enforced, according to Councilwoman Gale Brewer. She explained that the law will be self-enforced. Police are not expected to be enforcing the law.
I’m not interested in arrests; I’m not interested in revenue. I’m just interested in public health.
As expected, there is a great deal of opposition to this bill. Many see it as an infringement on individual liberties and others think it will set a dangerous precedent. Councilman Robert Jackson thinks the new law is too broad.
We’re moving towards a totalitarian society if in fact we’re going to have those kinds of restrictions on New Yorkers.
On a lighter note, one group of people will be exempted from the restrictions. Actors will be able to smoke in parks and public areas for the purpose of theatrical production.