In 2002, New York City banned smoking in bars and restaurants. Yesterday, reports the AP, the City Council took it outside and extended the ban to include parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.
That means that soon Central Park and Times Square will be smoke-free zones. The AP reports:
The ban was approved by a vote of 36-12 on Wednesday. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says the new law will save lives and make New York a healthier place to live.
The smoking ban will cover some 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches plus boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas, including Times Square. Signs announcing the new ban will be posted within 90 days.
The bill faced opposition from Council Member Robert Jackson. He told CNN:
The ban is "going against our liberty of the people of New York City. As someone who wants to breathe clean air, I think we are going too far and being intrusive."
The Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog reports that in defending the bill Quinn relied on studies that showed "outdoor tobacco levels can be as high as secondhand smoke levels indoors and there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke."
If a person is caught smoking in one of these places, they could face a $50 fine.