Sept. 16, 2010— -- New York City officials are considering a plan to ban smoking in outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches and even Times Square. The ban would include 1,700 parks, 14 miles of public beaches and all boardwalks, marinas and plazas. This follows a 2003 ban of smoking in all the city's restaurants and bars.
Smaller cities across the United States already have similar bans in place for their public spaces, but the New York city proposal is one of the widest-reaching urban bans ever to be proposed.
"The point of this bill isn't 'gotcha,"' said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "Our goal is not to get a gentleman or a lady who's walking across the street."
So far reaction from New York City residents has been mixed. While lots of residents applauded the effort, a smokers' right groups, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker harassment, has been vocal in their protest. They recently even posted a video on their website protesting the proposed ban.
The group's founder, Audrey Silk, argues that smoke dissipates quickly outdoors, where "there's room for everybody and nobody will be affected."
Our question to you today: Is banning smoking in New York City's outdoor public spaces a good idea or going too far?