Butt we love to smoke!

Butt we love to smoke!

Carrying buckets of used butts, anti-smoking advocates rallied on the boardwalk in Coney Island last week against smoking in city parks, saying our local beaches, while excellent for extinguishing cigarettes, are not ashtrays.

“Everybody has a right to breathe clean air in parks, beaches or in a bar,” said Sheelah Feinberg, one of the organizers of last week’s anti-smoking demonstration. “There are associated risks to secondhand smoke even if you’re outdoors.”

But the thought of further smoking restrictions has Coney Island tobacco lovers fuming.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Jim Knorr while enjoying a Marlboro. “They’re getting carried away with the smoking laws.”

Anastasia Tsarnas of Sheepshead Bay said that relaxing on the beach with a smoke is as American as apple pie.

“It makes me calm,” she said. “I love the people, and I like my cigarettes. I’m cutting down, but I feel I have the right to smoke.”

And even some non-smokers thought the group was going too far.

“The beach and boardwalk is a huge area,” said Nataliya Ostrovskaya. “I think it’s a little unfair for people who do like to smoke not to be able to step foot on the boardwalk and smoke a cigarette,” she said.

But to some, the beach is a sanctuary.

“I think the beach is a place where people come get energy and health,” said Ella Kagan. “I see it as a place for rejuvenation. There are lot of children and elderly people here. I’m absolutely for the smoking ban.”

The city’s take this year is to let people smoke away.

“While the mayor is always looking for new approaches to curb smoking, extending the ban to beaches is not something we are doing right now,” said Jessica Scaperotti, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office.