One year ago today New York City's ban on smoking in beaches and parks kicked in. So how's that going? Really, really great, if you ask the Department of Health. So how to explain why the police this year have actually started getting aggressive about issuing tickets for the offense, despite saying they wouldn't? Because we still see smokers in parks on a regular basis.

Anyway! To celebrate one year of smoke-free parks and beaches, the DOH sent out a release touting some observational studies they did that happened to observe a praise-worthy two-thirds reduction in smoking where it isn't allowed. If you are curious, here's what the DOH did to come up with their two-thirds number:

The smoking surveys were conducted October of 2010 and October of 2011, during lunch hours on weekdays and in the early afternoon on weekends, in 13 parks in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including large “flagship” parks like Central Park and smaller neighborhood parks like Tompkins Square. Pairs of Health Department staff walked in set routes and recorded the number of people they observed smoking. In October 2010, the surveyors observed 108 people smoking, but a year later they documented only 35 people smoking.


They also did some litter surveys before and after the ban kicked in that, they say, showed a reduction of cigarette butts on beaches from 265 pieces of cigarette litter per acre to 100. Which is nice, because nobody likes a dirty beach (it's not hard to take your butts out people!).

Still, those reductions aren't enough for the DOH. Just to make absolutely sure we're all crystal clear that you are not allowed to smoke in city parks and beaches anymore, the Department is planning on running ads around the city starting next week reminding everyone. While they're at it, they should put up some ads inside local police stations.