City Passes Parks and Beaches Cig Ban

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Soon, you'll have to think twice before you light up on your local park bench. The City Council voted in favor of a resolution yesterday that will ban smoking in public parks, city beaches and boardwalks.

The bill is an extension of the city’s Smoke Free Air Act, which banned cigarettes in bars and restaurants back in 2002. Smokers who take up their habit in public parks, beaches or outdoor plazas could be slapped with a $50 fine from the Parks Department, according to the new law, which goes into affect in 90 days.

Supporters of the law are optimistic about how effective the ban will be.

“The expectation of the bill’s sponsor and others who voted for the bill is that it will be self-enforcing, as the Smoke-free Workplace Law of 2002 has been,” said David Lehman, manager at Bronx Smoke-free Partnership, in an e-mail.

“When it passed 8 years ago, there were predictions of fist fights, high non-compliance and more. The exact opposite has proven to be true. Compliance is at 98%, as smokers are largely law-abiding and non-smokers love breathing clean air.”

Some background on the bill, which was heavily backed by Bronx Council Members,