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Council votes to ban smoking in NYC parks and beaches

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smoking Photo Credit: Getty Images

It’s going to be a smoke-free summer at the city’s parks and beaches after the City Council voted Wednesday to ban the practice in certain outdoor public spaces — part of a growing effort to restrict smoking in New York.

The bill, which passed 36-12, was endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

It follows similar legislation in San Francisco and Chicago, and would result in a warning for a first-time violator, then a $50 fine if caught again.

The city’s Parks Department would enforce the ban, not police.

Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Upper West Side) said there was lobbying behind the scenes to make sure the bill had enough support.

She used the argument that secondhand smoke is affecting city children — some of whom are diagnosed with asthma — to make her case. “We need this,” Brewer said.

This is the latest health push for the city, which in 2003 banned smoking in restaurants and bars. A Bloomberg spokesman said the mayor isn’t currently behind any additional smoking-related legislation.

“What’s next will eventually be ghettos for smokers,” said Audrey Silk, founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment.

The current bill will take effect 90 days after Bloomberg signs it, which could happen in the next couple of weeks.

Detractors of the measure, which would also ban smoking in public plazas such as in Times Square, said it goes too far.

“Government is being too restrictive in this particular matter,” said Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Morningside Heights).

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