Yesterday we were revolted by the sight of 1,000 cigarette butts that were dug up in the sand on Coney Island over the weekend, so today we're particularly primed for this bit of news: Mayor Bloomberg is moving forward with a ban on cigarettes on city beaches and in public parks. When the idea was first floated in September by Health Department commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, Bloomberg seemed caught off guard, saying, "Our Police Department has enough to do. They can't be going around giving tickets [for smoking]." A few weeks later, he did promise to "get that done," but that was the last we heard on it... until now. The mayor told reporters yesterday:

We’re talking about banning smoking on beaches and in parks, and it’s partially because you can breathe the air. It’s in the open air, but the air wafts in your direction. But it is also because people take their cigarette butts and the packages and just throw them away. When you ask people in our parks and beaches, they say they just don’t want smokers there.

A City Hall spokeswoman tells NY1 there's no timeframe set on the ban, and while the directive would not require City Council legislation, the Bloomberg administration is said to favor that route "because it adds clarity to the law." The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, is reportedly "interested" in the idea, but "feels that fines should be modest." Sure, maybe at first, but after the second or third offense we do believe a good public caning is in order.