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New York to expand public smoking ban

May 22, 2011 at 3:30 PM

NEW YORK, May 22 (UPI) -- Health Department authorities say they will expand New York's smoking ban to include public places such as plazas, parks and beaches.

"This will protect New Yorkers from secondhand smoke and keep our parks and beaches clean," said Susan Kansagra, the assistant commissioner for the Health Department's Bureau of Tobacco Control, adding the suggestion is to "de-normalize" smoking in places where families gather so children don't think the addiction is acceptable, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.

The law going into effect Monday will be accompanied by a television and print advertising campaign driving home the point for New Yorkers not to smoke in places where they're now banned.

The danger of secondhand smoke indoors is clear, while the danger of it outdoors is less so, a public health authority said.

"Outdoors, the air-monitoring studies suggest smoke dissipates and there is virtually no health risk to anyone who is more than a few feet away," said James Colgrove, a Columbia University public health professor and author of "NYC: Epidemic City."

Scofflaws can be fined $50.

Enforcement is the province of the Parks Department and will be difficult since there aren't many officers to do the job, the newspaper said.

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