If smokers think they've got it bad in this country they should spare a thought for their nicotine-addicted counterparts in the Big Apple. Parks, beaches (Coney Island, for example) and certain other outdoor areas including Times Square will soon be subject to a lighting-up ban, as the city council passed a law to extend the existing smoking ban, which affects bars and restaurants, yesterday.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly delighted that the air will become even cleaner in the city - not to mention the streets, some of which will no longer be littered with cigarette butts.
The law was passed after a 36-12 in-favour vote and will cover no fewer than 1,700 parks as well as 14 miles of public beaches. Other areas that will be affected include pedestrian plazas and squares, marinas and boardwalks. The bill is due to be signed in just under 20 days, then the bill will go into effect after 90 days.
Other parts of the US have banned smoking in public parks and beaches, but experts say the New York outdoor ban is one of the toughest yet. Supporters of anti-smoking legislation are campaigning around the country for similar bans in order to reduce the number of deaths caused by secondhand smoke.
If you're caught smoking in one of the designated smoke-free areas, you could be fined $50 (though some sources claim the fine could be anything up to $250).
Is this yet another infringement of smokers' rights? And could such a ban ever happen here in the UK?
Do you think it would be a good idea? Or should we ease up on smokers?