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No Butts About It: NYC Bans Smoking From Public Parks

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The city of New York has stepped up efforts to police the bad habits of its citizens.

On Wednesday, the city council voted 36 to 12 to ban smoking at all the city's public parks, beaches and public plazas. The NY Daily News reports:

Councilmembers in favor of the bill gave impassioned speeches about loved ones who died of smoking-related cancers and children who suffered from asthma.

Opponents invoked civil liberties, including some who said they were personally opposed to smoking and were great supporters of banning cigarettes in bars, but were disappointed that lawmakers did not consent to a compromise bill that would have restricted smoking to designated areas in parks.

Others said they were torn, including Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie -- who even invoked Kristallnacht, saying if “we start going after individual personal liberties,” we’ll end up with tyranny. But Comrie ended up voting for the bill, he said, because his teenage kids told him he should. ...

"Parks and beaches are places where people sit and talk, and they deserve to be smoke-free," said bill sponsor Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan).

Previously, smoking in New York was banned from restaurants, bars and within a given distance of a health care facility.  The latest proposal was initially announced last summer by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also supported the ban on bake sales.

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