NY to ban smoking in Times Square, parks, beaches

Lighting up in Times Square, Central Park and on the beach at Coney Island will become illegal under a new smoking ban announced Wednesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"The science is clear: prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke - whether you're indoors or out - hurts your health. Today, we're doing something about it," Bloomberg said.

The bill must pass in the City Council, where Bloomberg has strong support.

"When this legislation is passed, all New Yorkers will be able to enjoy a walk in the park or a day at the beach without having to inhale secondhand smoke," council speaker Christine Quinn said.

"This bill will save lives and make New York City a healthier place to live," she added.

New York City has 14 miles (some 22 kilometers) of beaches and more than 1,700 parks, like the famous Central Park, and playgrounds.

Bloomberg, a passionate anti-smoking former smoker, braved heated opposition in 2003 to push through a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

The new ban would seek to eradicate smoking in popular tourist spots including pedestrian plazas such as Times Square where another Bloomberg initiative banned cars.

Violators would face fines of up to 250 dollars.

Smokers in the city, who already have to pay between 11 and 15 dollars for a packet of cigarettes, fumed.

"It's all based on an ideology of 'thou shall not smoke,'" said Audrey Silk, founder of the smokers' rights group NYC C.L.A.S.H.

"There's no scientific evidence that smoking outdoors is harming anyone else," she told AFP.

"They will have us suspend common and logical sense that tobacco smoke is a unique substance and that for everything else - we're talking exhaust fumes - there are safe levels."

A former police officer, Silk said it was impossible to chase down people sneaking a puff in places like Times Square.

"Can you imagine pulling cops off the street, instead of looking for terrorists?"

However, city council member Gale Brewer said the smoking curbs not only targeted a deadly addiction, but would make New York more pleasant.

"New York is the national leader in creating healthy cities, and promoting a healthy life style," Brewer said.

"That's why we're pushing to get butts off the beaches. And it's not just a health issue, as any beachgoer knows: despite the clean-up efforts of the Parks Department, the sand is too often used as an ashtray."

Some 7,500 New Yorkers die from smoking-related problems a year, City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.

One in three preventable deaths is related to smoking, while secondhand smoke causes more cancer deaths than asbestos, benzene, arsenic, and pesticides combined, the city says.

The indoors smoking ban "greatly reduced the harm that cigarettes cause to nonsmokers," Farely said. "By expanding the act to cover parks and beaches, we can reduce the toll even further."

Bloomberg, narrowly elected last year to a third term after changing the rules that would have limited him to two terms, is praised by supporters for raising quality of life in the biggest US city.

Detractors, though, call him a control freak.

"No smoking, soon no laughing, no drinking, and eventually no talking," one reader going by the Internet name BELLEduSoup complained on New York magazine's website.

 

Life and Style
health
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
News
news
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine