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Banning smoking outdoors
Will New York City ban smoking at parks and public beaches?
S

ay what you want about New York City's "health Gestapo," said Andrea Peyser in the New York Post, but every once in a while they come up with a "mighty fine idea." So let's hope the city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, gets his way and bans smoking from parks and public beaches. Cigarette fiends have every right to "slowly kill themselves"—but they shouldn't be allowed to blow their toxins at the rest of us.

"This has got to stop," said Andrew Belonsky in Gawker. New York City officials have already banned smoking in bars, of all places; now Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and his colleagues want to "extend their totalitarian grip" to the great outdoors? "If a smoker wants to light one up while enjoying a picnic, that's their business."

Banning smoking in all public parks is "draconian and unenforceable," said Dan Savage in The Stranger, so let nicotine addicts "'enjoy' their stupid, ridiculous nicotine addiction in their own homes and outside." But maybe there's room for compromise—New York City could ban smoking in tiny parks or in packed sections of larger ones where, even outdoors, non-smokers can end up choking on smoke.

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