Whoopi Goldberg has launched a blistering attack on authorities in New York after council members voted in favor of extending the city's public smoking ban to all parks, plazas and beaches across the city.
The "Sister Act" star is furious the motion, which covers a wide expanse of outdoor areas, was passed during a New York City Council vote on Wednesday, February 2. Smoking was already outlawed in all indoor spaces open to the public, including restaurants and bars, but the new addition means those wanting to light up will also have to steer clear of park benches, beach boardwalks and similar recreational open-air areas - including the Big Apple's iconic Times Square.
Smoker Goldberg has hit out at the health-conscious decision, insisting authorities should focus their attention on making public transport more environmentally-friendly before targeting smokers. Speaking on her U.S. talk show "The View" on Thursday, she raged, "I'm done with this (anti-smoking) because I feel I pay taxes here just like everybody else. There should be a designated place and I'm tired of being treated like some damn criminal. If they're really worried about the smell in the air, give us electric buses, give us electric cars, and then I'll understand! But you know, (give smokers) a little respect because I understand that not everyone wants to smoke, I get that, but you can't keep treating people like they don't matter."
And Goldberg has vowed to defy the ban and pay the $50 fines for smoking in the newly-banned areas until nicotine lovers are given specially-designated spots to puff away in public. She adds, "I'm going to take the hit, I'm gonna write the cheque, do everything until you guys do what you need to do to stop this nasty smell of cars and all the other nasty stuff... I'm smoking my cigarette, I'm sick of this!"
The new rules are expected to be signed off by Mayor Michael Bloomberg later this month and will come into effect 90 days later.