The New York City Council has approved to extend the city's smoking ban to municipal parks and beaches.
The ban was approved by a vote of 36-12, and will take effect three months after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs it.
It will make it an offence to light up in any of the city's 1,700 parks and along 23kms of public beaches plus boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas, including Times Square, according to DailyIndia.com
The Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said the ban was an affirmation of the rights of nonsmokers. "Their health and their lives should not be negatively impacted because other people have decided to smoke," Ms. Quinn said at a news conference.
Opponents of the bill spoke strongly against it; several members derided it as an overly broad law that would infringe on individual liberties.
"We're moving towards a totalitarian society if in fact we're going to have those kinds of restrictions on New Yorkers," said Councilman Robert Jackson of Manhattan, who described himself as a marathon runner and nonsmoker, New York Times reports.