Lautenberg Smoking Ban Evolves; Sidewalks, Beaches Now Off Limits

Outdoor smoking bans are on fire, spreading to parks, sidewalks, business districts, sporting events and beaches.

Lautenberg pioneered a smoking ban in planes in the '80s, and it ignited a movement.     

Now smoking bans are on fire, spreading to sidewalks, beaches, and parks.  Starting this month, smoking is banned at playgrounds, sporting and cultural events, gas stations and bus stops in all of Russia.  The penalty?  Up to 1500 rubles, says a Russian newspaper. 

Burlington County's smokefree policy also began this month in its parks and on its hiking trails.

Part of the Main Street in Gangnam, South Korea is also off limits to smokers.  That's Gangnam style set to a different beat.        

And then there's Durham County, North Carolina.  There, smoking is verboten on sidewalks, in parks, and in "other public outdoor spaces, according to GASP, the Global Advisors Smokefree Policy organization.  GASP has studied the trend and reports on all of the new converts to the movement.

In New York City, the ban extends to parks, outdoor plazas, beaches and boardwalks.  Smoking and slurping giant sodas are not tolerated in the Big Apple.

Closer to home, Mount Holly Township is considering joining 174 other municipalities in New Jersey that ban the habit in outdoor spaces.  There is still some debate over whether the town will include the downtown gazebo as smokefree. 

In case you're wondering whether such bans have gone too far, a federal court in Missouri last year dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a prohibition against smoking in outdoor public places in a town named Clayton.  

Health advocates say it's about time.  But critics suggest these actions veer towards total prohibition and may infringe on individual liberties.