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New York City tries to ban outdoor smoking
September 16th, 2010
11:50 AM ET

New York City tries to ban outdoor smoking

New York City could be inching closer to banning outdoor smoking in parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday plans to expand smoking bans outdoors because of the effects of secondhand smoke.

“The science is clear: prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke – whether you’re indoors or out – hurts your health.  Today, we’re doing something about it,” the mayor said in a news release.

Read more about Secondhand smoke exposure 'striking' in the U.S.

A New York councilmember is expected to introduce the new local law tomorrow at the City Council meeting.

Check out this iReport about the ban.

A similar measure in California failed earlier this year that would’ve banned smoking in all state beaches and parks.  The bill was vetoed by cigar aficionado, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


soundoff (557 Responses)
  1. ME

    This is garbage, there are plenty of things in public 'harmful' to your health and getting a whiff of someone smoking out in an open air public environment isn't going to give anyone cancer. People need to mind their business, they just don't like the smell and want to control people. Gas guzzling motor vehicles produce more deadly toxins from their mufflers than any cigarette, but you don't see states banning hummers. Not being able to smoke in bars is one thing, but if someone doesn't like the air around me and I'm in a public outdoor place then they can take a few steps out of my face.

    September 18, 2010 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ME

    The cops can barely stop people from smoking weed in public in NYC so even if they pass this law it's going nowhere, smokers may be a minority but they won't put up with this crap.

    September 18, 2010 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Razorking

      Oh you will put up with it. Smokers seem to have a high tolerance for self abuse so it should be no problem for you to put up with these new restrictions as well.

      You already cannot smoke in the workplace (most) or commercial airline, movie theater, bars (many or most) elevators, etc. All of you whined like hell about that but you all conformed as you will again.

      And the prostate cancer comment above is bizarre. Sure you want those who disagree with you to die a horrible death – see why you need control? I don't wish disease upon you but you are bringing it on yourself intentionally. And any of us could contract any one of hundreds of diseases/ailments at any time – that is the risk of life. But I think it still intelligent to try your best to take care of yourself and be the best you can be -and then you have done all you can.

      It's not rude but reality for me to say you are drug addicted because you are. No one forced the habit on you you chose it for yourself. Now you have to find a place to smoke where others don't have to breathe it, if you were rational you would not need to be told that.

      September 18, 2010 at 10:31 | Report abuse |
  3. david

    Crud it posted above, not where i was wanting it... Oh well.. part 2.

    "That includes your physical health. And if you don't care for yourself then clearly you will disregard for others also."
    So i take it you don't drink, drive over the limit or witout your seatbelt, sky dive, rock climb or do any other activity that is also bad for you??

    "Most people are non smokers and they have rights that supersede yours because it is the smoker who is forcing his bad habit on others."
    So one demographic should impose their rights on another? Sounds like a totalarian situation. And as i quoted in my first post, the Constitition guarentees us the right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. 2nd hand smoke MAY cause diseases, but is not an immediate threat to life. Restricting smokers choices of places to smoke is most definitely denying our liberty (without due processs of a court of law), and it is most definitely a violation of our right to the persuit of happiness. Ergo OUR rights are hit 2 times, yours maybe once.. So why should YOUR right override ours?

    "Wish I could pay $10-$20 per day to give myself lung cancer and shortness of breath and smell like a sour turd – guess I am not man enough for that much fun."
    I knw more non smokers who spend that much on just one night out drinking.... and still cannot run as fast/long as i can. Or do as many push ups, sit ups, crunches... Get the picture?

    September 18, 2010 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Razorking

      I drink to some extent but I don't abuse it. I generally drive the speed limit and I do wear a seat belt. I snowboard and while that can be considered a potentially dangerous activity I understand the risks and chose to accept them. But there are rules on the mountain and I obey them. I cannot snowboard anywhere I like and I have to slow down in certain areas, watch for others etc. I don't go up there with an attitude that I can do whatever I like everyone else be damned.

      The constitution does not explicitly give you any right to smoke and it certainly does not give you the right to drop your butts wherever you please. My pursuit of happiness might mean I want to drink and have sex in public but clearly I can't do that – so that is a foolish argument. No one is denying you the right to smoke only where you can smoke much like alcohol.

      And no I don't get the picture. It is pointless to debate here who can do more crunches or bench press more or how far/fast we can run. We don't have an opportunity to prove any of those things and I cannot put on a pair of gloves with you and step in a ring to settle the matter. That is all beyond the scope of the debate at hand. The question is whether or not smoking should be allowed in city parks and public spaces. And how could any sane person argue that smoking is not detrimental to physical well being for the smoker. If you want to be at your physical best you would have to drop smoking. How many of the world's top athletes smoke?? That makes zero sense.

      September 18, 2010 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
  4. VecDaddy

    So, at this rate, I will have to stop off at my "dealer" to pick up some tobacco cigarettes before going to the corner drug store to pick up a pack of marijuana cigs. Incredible.

    September 18, 2010 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Razorking

      Well the marijuana does not smell nearly as bad. MJ should be legalized but I would not propose it have no limits to where it can be smoked.

      September 18, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
  5. usamare

    When they do tests about the health effects of second hand smoke, they put the test subject in a confined space filled with so much smoke that you would have to stand in a burning house to duplicate it.

    OSHA refused to enact INDOOR smoking bans because the actual health impact was so insignificant that it defied measurement. ASH even tried to sue them over it, but quickly dropped the case when OSHA threatened to provide a guideline of safe air contamination levels.

    What's happened is that people have been thoughtlessly eating up inaccurate but well sensationalized headlines for so long that now they actually have panic attacks when they so much as see a cigarette, let alone smell one.

    New York might ban outdoor smoking as a preemptive control against littering, but the notion of doing so for non-smokers health is pure phobia, simple insanity.

    Overall though, if the majority of the population is mentally insane, then the local laws should be allowed to reflect it. The whole place will continue to smell like stale diesel exhaust to me.
    Be safe!

    September 18, 2010 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. MotoChris

    So it's ok to legalize marijuana but we're on course to eradicating cigarette smoking. real good logic there america

    September 18, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Razorking

      Why do all of you continue to insist that smoking is being eradicated...it is not. Alcohol is not outlawed but there are restrictions on where it can be consumed – yet it remains ubiquitous. If you like tobacco you can still smoke – just need to be more aware of where you can smoke.

      September 18, 2010 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

      We have come a long way but just visit China and you will see why we should ban outdoor smoking, including pot!

      September 18, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
  7. be12333

    Smoker's don't have a "right" to smoke on city property. Since they have proven themselves incapable of being considerate by blowing smoke in people's faces and littering all over the place the city had to step in and ban it.

    September 18, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. proudsmoker

    Everybody better realize that if it gets to the point that smoking is illegal, you better be ready to pay higher taxes on everyday things because the government is going to have to make up the money from somewhere. A lot of good government services are funded by cigarette taxes. I am just forewarning you all. Enjoy your higher taxes if you succeed!!!

    September 18, 2010 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. dj

    Sure do away with the smoking and the next thing will be barbecues/restaurant smoke

    September 18, 2010 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Chuck

    What's next? I get offended buy some peoples perfume... when will that be banned? I don't like the color green... it needs to be banned as well. I could be hit by a drunk driver... ban beer as well. Your children could drown today... ban water. Anything and everything that may offend or hurt someone should be banned. As an american citizen I DEMAND IT!!! According to some of you people it is my RIGHT to be free from all offensive and hurtful things!!! Make it happen...

    September 18, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • david

      "No one is denying you the right to smoke only where you can smoke much like alcohol."
      No one is denying us the right to smoke?? What the hell is this law, if not denying us a place to smoke? Lets see, cannot smoke in cars if kids are there, or in some states the potential for kids being in there (you or your family has them), can't smoke outside, can't smoke inside, cant smoke at ball parks, cant smoke at concerts...... And our 'last haven', the house, is starting to be looked at... SO HOW THE HELL can you say we are NOT being denyed the right to smoke?
      ANd that is not even looking at all the workplaces that are now doing the "IF you smoke, don't even bother applying for a job, even if you only smoke at home".

      "VecDaddy

      So, at this rate, I will have to stop off at my "dealer" to pick up some tobacco cigarettes before going to the corner drug store to pick up a pack of marijuana cigs. Incredible."
      Yea.. it is strange a LEGAL and highly taxed ;drug; is hamsringed like this, but a (still illegal drug for the most part) is given thumbs up.

      "Why do all of you continue to insist that smoking is being eradicated...it is not. Alcohol is not outlawed but there are restrictions on where it can be consumed – yet it remains ubiquitous. If you like tobacco you can still smoke – just need to be more aware of where you can smoke."

      And as i wrote earlier razor.. where exactly is left? Heck, chekc this out from norway! Here is a link http://www.newsinenglish.no/2010/09/10/doctors-against-smoking-ban-at-home/

      YES the general gist is the norweegians do NOT want to do it, but it shows that the anti smoker crowd is NOT wanting anywhere left for us to smoke in.

      September 19, 2010 at 00:21 | Report abuse |
  11. shri

    i am okay if they ban smoking in all places where there are no automobiles. But wherever there are automobiles – they should allow smoking – both cars and cigarettes emit the same level of pollutants..

    September 19, 2010 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. cul heath

    "The only EPA study [on 2nd hand smoke] that came out was discredited and ended up with the EPA retracting the study."

    Exactly right, but hey, the anti-smoking crowd are not basing their clamoring for outdoor smoking bans on anything rational...it's just another form of evangelical zealotry. They just hate cigarettes period...the science is irrelevant.

    September 19, 2010 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. ATLmom

    Have you ever been to the beach and had your kid build a sand castle with sand and cig butts? It's not the smoking but the behavior of smokers that irk many of us. Just put the butts in an ashtray and we're good.

    September 19, 2010 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. kmhunt78

    I'm all for banning smoking in some public areas. What I can't stand, however, is when smokers just toss their trash on the ground for someone else to clean up. My MIL is one of the worst offenders. She claims to be green and responsible about the environment, but she'll nonchalantly toss her butts on the ground, and walk on leaving them for someone else to clean up. The second-hand smoke issue isn't as strong of an argument as the unsightly liter left behind. Should smokers have places they can go? YES. Should they be allowed to smoke anywhere they want? No... public space is SHARED space.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Rob

    Considering most smokers think the world is their personal trash can when it comes to their cigarette butts, I say ban ALL outside smoking. If you want to do that disgusting habit, do it in the privacy of your own home. It's bad enough that it stinks and is disgusting, keep it in your home!

    September 19, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Master Chief

    If you think bus smoke is bad, Then don't stand behind it!

    September 19, 2010 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mark K .

    if we could improve focus and figure out the long list of other stuff that we could improve, then bloomberg would have his hands full.

    September 19, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Go away

    Get rid of smoking and obesity and you've fixed health care.

    September 19, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • turtle-tracks

      And drinking related illnesses? Genetic disorders? Virus's (according to World Health Organization AIDS is the number one killer and contributor of disease to women)

      October 12, 2010 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
  19. Trevor, Austin, TX

    This is just insane, I can't believe so many people so vehemently support taking away the rights of a minority group (smokers). This is America goddammit.

    September 19, 2010 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. anon123

    So if someone takes their one year old child to the park and someone sprays alcohol in the child's face are we saying we would not be outraged? Of course we would! But why?

    Alcohol is legal to purchase (like cigs), was not consumed in public by the sprayer (unlike cigs), the child did not ask for nor would the parents want the alcohol (as with cigs), alcohol affects the central nervous system and causes all kinds of diseases (like cigs), and the clothing and skin of the child would be dirty (like smoke from cigs).

    So the question is, "Why are smokers allowed to continue to blow smoke in the faces of children and others and wonder why we are outraged"?

    September 19, 2010 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. smokefreely NYC

    Regardless of what ban they put on smokers in NYC, I will still light my cigarette in a park, beach, wherever. No piece of s**t mayor is going to keep me from my rights as an American. If they give me a summons, I will proceed to throw it in the trash.. now that will be good for the enviornment.

    To those so concerned about carcinogens: GET OUT OF NY. PERIOD.
    To those concerned about cigarette butts on the beach: Blame the Parks Dept. CLEARLY they are not doing thier job. But they are still getting paid using what... YOUR tax dollars.

    How about we ban crackheads from public housing and give it to people who actually need it.
    How about we stop imposing income limits on thing like Federal Aid for students and healthcare.
    (I got denied for both because I make more than $10,000 dollars living as a singe adult in NYC. NO JOKE!)
    How about we stop giving food stamps to all these immigrants who walk into welfare offices with Escalades and mink coats.

    Theres an 'effin start.

    September 19, 2010 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. david

    ATLMom "t's not the smoking but the behavior of smokers that irk many of us. Just put the butts in an ashtray and we're good."
    I have encountered much worse behavior from non smokers. Such as when i am standing in a smokers designated area and a non comes up, fakes a cough and tells me i am going to hell for my discusting habbit, and i should die soon. Or when i am standing outside my house enjoying a smoke and a barbeque and they walk INTO my back yard (which is not fenced due to the local rules) and demand i put it out cause i am affecting them when they came into MY space.

    Rob "Considering most smokers think the world is their personal trash can when it comes to their cigarette butts, I say ban ALL outside smoking."
    While i agree there are a lot of smokers who are inconsiderate and litter, i see a lot MORE litter from drinkers than i do smokers.. So should we also ban drinking?

    September 20, 2010 at 04:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. jake

    my grandfather smoked for 80 years, and was healthy as a horse.... a 98 year old horse, but... you know what i mean... then he got hit by a car in nyc. the driver was drunk AND he was texting while driving. what's the biggest danger in this story?

    October 7, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • turtle-tracks

      I'm so sorry.

      I agree that priorities are a little backwards here. I believe Big Pharma has bought these people hook line and sinker. After all who is making millions on on "anti-smoking meds" and "anti-smoking patches"...

      October 12, 2010 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
  24. Tyler

    Bigbrother at it again...

    I'm not a smoker, but we as Americans ALWAYS need something to complain about. Once smoking is banned, and if Electric Automobiles catch on more. Then there will be the day that any automobile with an internal combustion engine will be illegal to operate. They will be banned to garages, and museams.

    It is happening little by little, the government is controling everything we do. It's hard to see when one "small" thing gets banned/ changed at a time. Once this smoking ban happens, people will be sore about it, complain for awhile then it will mostly be forgotton about. Yet it truley is a slippery slope... If someone asked me if our Country was heading in the right direction... I would say definitely NOT.

    Those of you with asthma, what would you do if the Government made it a law that those of you with asthma must wear a respirator while in public, because the pollutants are dangerous to your health, and it's for your own good!

    October 8, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Tyler

    We need politicians to focus on REAL problems. Like SmokefreeNY said...

    The other day I was behind a lady with 4 screaming kids (by the way we should ban kids from public places, them screaming gives me a headache and is bad for my health) who got a bunch of groceries with food stamps. As I walked my cart out to my car I saw her driving away in a BRAND NEW CHEVY TAHOE. She most likely makes money under the table, or like way too many Americans compeltely abuses the system.

    Everyone wants everything without working for it... let's make that a priority over these bull**** bans, and bills being passed.

    October 8, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. turtle-tracks

    As a Native American, I can definitely see this eventually impeding on my religious freedoms.

    What next? Ban ALL outdoor smoking even on your own property and/or on tribal lands???

    October 12, 2010 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Donna

    I think that smoking ban in public places it is a great law, because it will protect non-smokers form secondhand smoke exposure. http://www.smokersworld.info/

    November 2, 2010 at 05:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. freekamia

    guys smoking really injurious to health!! But it is also very true that we can not be as active as we are active after smoking. Isn'it ?
    fishing lures

    November 6, 2010 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. A real med student

    I don't want anyone to get cancer. And I wonder what kind of doctor that jerk who says he's a med student is going to end up being.. it's unfortunate that anyone smokes but here's the reality no doctor will tell you: The chances of one getting lung cancer as a long term smoker is about ten to fifteen percent. Most long term smokers will not die of lung cancer. It is true that most people who die of lung cancer are long term smokers. Smoke does contribute to a variety of other cancers and illnesses but so do many other variables.. dietary habits, and mostly genetics. So although I am not encouraging people to smoke.. we all need to be realistic about it. If it weren't for long term smokers.. lung cancer would be a rare disease. It is a horrible way to die. But chances are you won't get it. And If that's the case for long term smokers.. I cannot believe that a med student would tell anyone that second hand smoke theories are based on anything more than a societal agenda that has no serious medical basis. Second of all, even if you don't smoke.. you will die and chances are it will be painful. Third of all, smoking is legal. Either ban it or allow smokers to have sections where they can smoke, restaurants they can eat in and bars they can drink in. They pay a huge amount in taxes.. like it or not.. they have rights and no smoking in front of you for a few seconds or minutes is not going to contribute to you getting lung cancer. Any med student who says that has his or her own agenda. BTW, severe asthma attacks are triggered by smoke but also be perfume and exhaust from cars and motorcycles. I would imagine a person with such a strong allergic reaction to those is on medication to prevent a sudden onset attack.

    January 6, 2011 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Pat

    I am not a smoker and glad our state is smoke free in public places...indoors. But to ban smoking outside is ridiculous. My only peeve re: outside smoking is finding butts on the beach, sidewalks. Put it in a receptacle!

    Aside from that, my daughter (a smoker), has a point when she says there are other odors as obnoxious or more so. Will we ban bon fires next? When our neighbors have bon fires the smell enters our house. We wake up with dry, red eyes and smell like we were sitting next to the bon fire ourselves, even though we weren't. Or how about log burning fireplaces on houses? Smells drift from those. Vents on houses...I can smell dryer sheets several houses away when the wind is right. And what about those people who bathe in cologne/perfumes. Even after they walk past you, the smell lingers. I know people will point out that these obnoxious odors don't cause cancer...but they are equally offensive.

    February 3, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
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