NYC Mayor Bloomberg Signs Bill to Prohibit Outdoor Smoking

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed legislation that will prohibit smoking in certain outdoor public spaces, such as parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks, and pedestrian plazas such as Times Square. The new law will take effect on May 23, 2011.

New York now joins Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City which already have laws banning smoking in city parks.

The bill was signed on Tuesday after the city council voted 36 to 12 in favor of the smoking restrictions earlier this month in an effort to decrease second-hand smoke exposure and to reduce the amount of litter. New Yorkers can still smoke on sidewalks, parking lots, streets and in their homes.

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“We need to ensure that our public spaces provide just that—a healthy place in which to relax and enjoy the surroundings,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “Smoke-free parks and beaches will make these recreational spaces more enjoyable for everyone by providing open space, clean air, and healthy activities.”

Parks Department officials will enforce the law, issuing fines of $50 per violation.

New York City first passed the Smoke Free Air Act in 1988 when smoking was banned in public restrooms and taxicabs. In 2002, the law was expanded to include public indoor areas such as restaurants and bars.

"Because of our combined efforts over the last nine years, there are 350,000 fewer people who smoke and New Yorkers are living 19 months longer than they did in 2002," Bloomberg said.

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