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N.Y. Smokers Call Ban Proposal Gov’t Interference

Mayor Doesn't Want People Lighting Up On Beaches, In Parks
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A man holds a cigarette - Dec 15, 2008 - Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A man holds a cigarette – Dec 15, 2008 – Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — Outdoor tobacco lovers … smoke ‘em while you can.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Wednesday expanded plans to his smoke free air act that would ban outdoor smoking at New York City beaches, parks and even the public plaza in Times Square, which is under Parks Department jurisdiction.

However, CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reports some are saying the government is becoming too involved with regulating our lives.

“We think it would help ensure that when New Yorkers and visitors go to the park or the beach for fresh air … there actually be fresh air for them to breath,” Bloomberg said.

LISTEN: WCBs 880’s Rich Lamb on how it would be enforced
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with comment from the Mayor
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs with reaction from Queens
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports from City Hall

The anti-tobacco mayor cited what he called the hazards of second hand smoke in those areas.

“Even out in the open air second hand smoke can be dangerous as well,” the mayor said.

Michael Herklots is a smoker’s rights advocate and he disagrees, saying the plan is draconian.

“What we are talking about is a second hand smell not a second hand smoke,” Herklots said. “Where does the line get drawn? How far can they regulate what we do with legal products?”

As you’d expect a lot of smokers are outraged over the plan that would ban them from smoking outside in parks, saying what about their rights?

“Outrageous. What is this, a dictatorship?” Zee Torres said.

The proposed ban was the talk at De La Concha tobacco shop in Midtown.

“It’s just another example of creeping interference by government on the rights of individuals,” smoker Jeff Tullman said.

“What are they gonna ban next? It’s out of control,” Richard Montilla added.

“I don’t need a nanny. I’m 56 years old,” said David Muhlfelder.

Many say New York City benefits from millions in taxes from tobacco, while continuing to restrict the people paying for it from using it.

“It would be wonderful if we didn’t have to have a tobacco tax. Why can’t you get that through your mind?” The idea of taxing is so they will not smoke and they will live longer,” Bloomberg said.

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