Mighty Manhattan has once again taken on Big Tobacco: New York’s City Council passed a ban on smoking last Wednesday in all 1,700 of the city’s parks and its 14 miles of beaches. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to sign the bill in the next 30 days. “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,” said Bloomberg in a written statement, adding that the ban will help protect New Yorkers–particularly children with asthma–from secondhand smoke.
The city government has been working to put a kibosh on butts since 2002 when smoking was outlawed in New York restaurants and higher cigarette taxes were introduced. According to Bloomberg, these efforts have resulted in more than 350,000 fewer smokers, and contributed to New Yorkers living 19 months longer than they did nine years ago.
San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles already have laws against smoking in parks, but by including beaches, New York has the most extensive ban yet. What do you think? Will New Yorkers embrace the idea of kicking cigarette butts out of outdoor spaces?