by Tanya Thomas on  September 18, 2009 at 9:33 AM Lifestyle News
 Will New York's Public Spaces Go Smoke-Free Soon?
New Yorkers may be reduced to hiding in the bushes to smoke if new rules go through on lighting up outdoors.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's health commissioner, Thomas Farley, declared Monday he wants to take the war on smokers to the city's beaches and parks.

Smoking has been illegal in offices, train stations and other indoor public places since 2003, forcing the Big Apple's approximately one million smokers to head outdoors.

But Farley's proposal to "expand smoke-free spaces to include city parks and public beaches" would mean there were even fewer places to light up.

It was not immediately clear whether the measure would need city council approval before going through. Although Bloomberg's 2003 ban proved popular, he is criticized by many for attempting to erect a nanny state.

Smoking in most restaurants and bars was banned in 1995.

According to the health department, 6.9 percent of adults smoke in New York, or about one million people. That's down from 21.5 percent in 2002.

About 7,500 residents die each year from smoking-related diseases.

Source: AFP

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