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Smoking ban in New York “a joke”

New York’s recently imposed ban on smoking in public places has been branded a ‘joke’ after only one ticket has been issued in the first month of the new law. The new legislation apparently covers 1700 parks and 14 miles of coastline, as well as inner-city New York.

However, only one ticket has so far been issued for smoking in public places, despite thousands continuing to do so. It was said that the one ticket that actually was issued was likely due to the person receiving the ticket goading the police officers into it. Since the ban began on the 23rd of May 2011, around 700 people have been given a ticking off by police for smoking in public.

But New York city officials have defended their apparent lack of enforcement by explaining that 2011 would be a ‘summer of warnings’ to get the message across to the general public, before tougher policing of the new law comes into play next year.

NYC Park Advocates spokesperson Geoffrey Croft said: “People are going to continue to flout it if there’s no pressure to deal with it”.

Those issued with a ticket will have to pay a $50 fine, but New York City council member Gale Brewer was eager to point out that the new law was not a money making scheme, hence the initial approach. She added that repeat offenders will be ticketed, but she liked ‘the fact that there are warnings’.

The Health Department of New York City added in a statement that ‘as with any new law, compliance occurs over time as the public becomes increasingly aware of the new rules’.

Signs have been placed throughout New York in parks and beaches to educate New Yorkers about the new law.

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