Addiction

NY Enforces New Smoking Ban - Smokers Say "Just Try and Stop Us"

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I like it when someone in the media calls smokers "addicts." I guess kids who love candy and alcoholics ain't "addicts" too?
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No butts about it: Beginning today, it is illegal to smoke in any of the city’s public parks, beaches, boardwalks and promenades.

But some New Yorkers say they’re simply going to ignore the new law.

“I sort of don’t obey the laws — so I’ll smoke anyways,” East Village resident Jessica Kim, 23, told Metro.

“Sometimes, paying $50 is worth that one drag of a cigarette,” said Chazz Awakirobon, 33, a dishwasher who lives in the East Village. There’s a $50 fine for lighting up in any of the aforementioned locales.

Other smokers said they’ll just migrate to Brooklyn Bridge or East River state parks, where it is still legal to smoke. All seven state parks within the city’s limits are exempt from the ban.

“$50 is a lot of money. That’s like three packs of cigarettes,” said Brooklyn resident Tyrell Dougeherty, 27. “I will definitely go to those state parks.”

But civilly disobedient smokers may be in luck: The NYPD is leaving enforcement of the new ban up to the Parks Department, which doesn’t appear to be cracking down anytime soon.

“The new smoking ban is a quality-of-life rule that is primarily self-enforcing,” Parks Department spokeswoman Vicki Karp said. “We’re counting on all New Yorkers to comply just as they do with other quality-of-life rules.”

Protest planned

Audrey Silk, leader of a smoker advocacy group New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, is organizing a “Smoke-in the park” on May 28, where a crowd is expected to puff away on the Brighton Beach boardwalk in protest of the ban. “This law will be paid the respect it deserves,” Silk vowed.

Safe havens

Don’t worry, addicts. You can still smoke in these parks:

» Roberto Clemente State Park
» Riverbank State Park
» Gantry Plaza State Park
» Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park (Brooklyn Bridge Park)
» East River State Park
» Bayswater Point State Park
» Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve