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Bloomberg Mulling Over Smoking Ban At NYC Parks, Beaches

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Smoking (Credit: AP)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — From the inside-out, there may be a new “no-go” when it comes to smoking.

Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-smoking crusade could be coming to a city park or public beach near you, a plan plenty of people say crosses the line, reports CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

CBS 2 has learned that Mayor Bloomberg is looking at a possible smoking ban for all city parks and public beaches.

“Now you’re gonna stop me from smoking in the park? Where am I gonna smoke at?” West Side resident Anthony Cintron said.

“What’s next? It will be something else in six months,” said another New Yorker.

The new measure would widen the current smoking ban – in bars, subways, buildings, playgrounds and other public places – to include some 29,000 acres of park land and 14 miles of beaches.

“Non-smokers can smell smoke from miles and miles away, so ban it!” Cynthia Keller-Bee, of the Upper East Side, said.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley proposed the park and beach ban almost a full year ago, and a statement from the mayor’s office Saturday night indicates the issue could soon come off the backburner.

“The mayor is seriously considering it. A final decision has not yet been make,” the statement said.

City Councilman Vincent Ignizio said his vote would likely be “no.”

“My concern is this overreach on behalf of city government,” he said.

Ignizio said this is another in a string of what he calls “nanny state” moves by a lame duck mayor.

In 2002, smoking in bars and restaurants was banned. Then came a battle against trans fats, requirements that restaurants post calorie counts on menus, and recently the campaign to cut back on salt.

While some smokers in Central Park called Mayor Bloomberg a bully on the issue, others praised him as a pioneering public health advocate.

“He is thinking positively. If people don’t want to do it on their own, the mayor takes the lead a little bit,” Upper West Side resident Michelle Fabre said.

In the end, no matter what the mayor wants, it is up to the city council to ignite the ban – or to snuff it out.

A similar ban of smoking on the beach for the state of California was vetoed this past May by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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