NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — To grill or not to grill? That is the question being asked at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, a movement has been launched to ban charcoal grilling in Prospect Park due to the smoke that can be harmful to your health.

For some, grilling is an integral part of summer.

“Barbecue, beers, having a good time,” said Sunnyside, Queens resident Viviana Medina.

But when community activist Ian Miller sees smoke wafting in the air from a charcoal grill, all he thinks about is danger.

That’s because he believes the smoke from charcoal grills is just as hazardous as cigarette smoke, and should be banned from the park.

“A charcoal pit is just a humongous pit of smoke and fire, how come that isn’t illegal but smoking a little tiny cigarette is?” Miller asked. “I just don’t think it has a place here.”

While effects of second-hand cigarette smoke has been studied extensively and deemed dangerous, the impact of charcoal smoke is uncertain.

Still, Miller’s position is shared by at least some of his Brooklyn neighbors.

More than 100 of them have signed an online petition at

Some people want the use of charcoal grills limited to spaces where people are not exercising or playing, but others argue the use of charcoal grills should be banned from public parks, Finch reported.

“If it’s unhealthy, I think they should definitely ban it,” Crown Heights resident Nissi Andrusier said.

The anti-grill movement is being bolstered by medical data.

“Charcoal smoke has coal dust in it, lime stone, borax and other components that are particularly bad for lung health,” said Dr. Robert Foronjy. “When you burn anything you’re releasing particles, those particles when they are breathed into the lung are irritants and they can cause broncho-spasms, cough and over the long-term they can cause diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis.”

Some people said as scary as those facts are, they’re still willing to risk it.

“As long as you don’t do it every single day, I think it should be fine like anything else,” said Windsor Terrace resident Gloria Villanueva.

Right now, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation said there are no plans to change their rules in Prospect Park, but a spokesperson said all actions they take are based on public demand.

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