"Overwhelmingly, when you ask people in parks or on beaches, they say they just don't want smokers there," the mayor said at a news conference. Explaining that parks and beaches are where people "can breathe the air," the mayor said the move would help keep air cleaner in those areas and would also cut down on trash from butts and cigarette packages.
New York City has 14 miles of beaches and some 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs.
The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said Tuesday that smoking was the leading preventable cause of death among residents, killing 7,500 New Yorkers per year, more than AIDS, drugs, homicide and suicide combined.
The city banned smoking in bars and restaurants in 2003.