Alright. This has got to stop. After banning smoking in bars, New York City officials are now thinking of extending their totalitarian grip to public spaces. Will the madness never end?

No, apparently, for City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley wants to prohibit smoking at beaches and parks. The move, he and his allies claim, will help reduce smoking rates, which have fallen since a ban on smoking in bars.

Of course, Cheryl G. Healton, who heads the anti-smoking group American Legacy Foundation supports the move:

There is no redeeming value in smoking at beaches or parks, Anyone who has sat behind someone smoking a stogie can tell you that. The health risks are real. Secondhand smoke is deadly.

Yeah, that's true: second hand smoke is deadly, but it's hardly the most annoying thing about public parks. Children, for example, are exceedingly annoying, but there's no ban on them. But, seriously, parks are outdoor, public spaces. The very idea of banning smoking there is an affront to American ideals. How can a city government even consider enacting such a ban? It's insulting. If a smoker wants to light one up while enjoying a picnic, that's their business. It's an open space and well within their right. But, we suppose the city has more power than some tar-lunged ash bag. And that's sad.

Image via Auntie P's flickr.