New York City's ban on smoking in parks and beaches took effect on Monday, a week before sun bathers are to hit the white-sand beaches and amusement park on Brooklyn's Coney Island, dpa reported.
On Memorial Day, next Monday, which is a US national holiday, beaches are to open to hordes of sun and sea lovers. But along with the inveterate visitors to Central Park, swimmers will also have to forego their smoking pleasures on the beaches.
New York has already outlawed smoking in restaurants, government offices and most public and pedestrian places like museums and movie theaters. The new smoking ban also affects the vast Central Park, a favourite place for millions of Manhattan residents.
Violators would be fined 50 dollars if they are caught by one of the 200 parks law enforcement patrol officers in the city of 8 million residents.
The city's Parks Department said in a statement on Monday, "The new smoking ban is a quality of life rule that is primarily self-enforcing. We're counting on all New Yorkers to comply just as they do with other quality of life rules."
The department said parks enforcement officers' primary duty is to ensure quality of life issues in parks and beaches, but they can also issue fines and educate people about the dangers of smoking.