New Yorkers can't smoke outside at parks anymore
May 23rd, 2011
12:38 PM ET

New Yorkers can't smoke outside at parks anymore

Smokers in New York are no longer allowed to light up in parks.

The Big Apple's outdoor smoking ban began Monday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last year plans to expand smoking bans at parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas, to prevent the effects of secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke exposure 'striking' in the U.S.

The city has more than 1,700 parks and other open spaces, totaling more than 43.75 square miles. And now it’s illegal to smoke in any of them, reports CNN affiliate WPIX.

The punishment: a $50 fine.

WPIX reported that a 2009 study carried out by the New York City Department of Health  found that 57% of non-smokers had elevated levels of nicotine, an indicator or exposure to secondhand smoke, higher than the national average of 45%.

soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. John

    I'm on the fence with this one. Public health wise it's not going to make much of a difference at all. The unseen particulate matter we all breathe hurts us much more casual contact with cigarette smoke. People are way too paranoid. It takes constant prolonged exposure to hurt you. On the other hand it does stink and cigarette butt trash is unsightly.

    May 24, 2011 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mariano

      Why don't they ban bubble gum too?. It doesn't leave any trash because is stuck to sidewalks and is very sightly.

      May 24, 2011 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      @Mariano – because the gum biodegrades much quicker than the insides of a cigarette filter. Because of the chemicals used to create the filter, the filter takes hundreds of years to fully degrade and some say they never degrade fully.

      May 24, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • Jody

      Why are people so worried about second and third hand smoke when they drive in their cars and walk the streets of New York breathing in carbon monoxide everyday?
      We all see the damage that alcoholism causes, so why not ban drinking in parks and beaches?
      How about a few commercials on the damage that alcohol does to your body? How about the nightmare of living with an alcoholic parent?
      If there are worries about what you breath in, why not move to the country where the air is clean and fresh and you can be in control of your own domain?
      Let's see how it works when people try to report other people smoking. Seems like more trouble then it's worth.
      Good luck control freaks!

      May 25, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |

    Do you realize we pay 500 billion dollars a year to protect us from those evil nations who would invade us and take our freedoms away, compared to less than 10 billion for any other industrialized nation. It makes me want to throw up when I hear people say our men and women in uniform are paying the price for our freedoms. There hasn't been a foreign nation threaten our freedoms since the Revolutionary war. Yet for some reason there is this aspect of society to legislate our freedoms away, people the enemy to freedoms is us. I now have to go through Road Blocks and be subjected to searches in the pretense of fighting the drug war, you can't smoke outside in a city with the second worst air pollution in the country, in the pretense of second hand smoke. I would dare say Americans had more freedoms prior to the Revolutionary War than we do today. We are destroying our nation from within, please people let's stop this craziness.

    May 24, 2011 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jntweets

      "Since the Revolutionary War?" Um, check history please.
      Hitler had plans to directly attack America during World War II. That is a proven fact. There's a good reason why they called their four engine bomber "Amerikabomber."
      The former Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at our soil. For all we know, they still do.
      And I'd call 9/11 a pretty direct attack on our freedoms...especially the freedom to live.
      If you're unhappy about the state of healthcare in America, that's fine. I agree with you for there is much to be unhappy about. But don't stray into arenas where you may be misinformed.

      May 24, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
    • Majestic

      Defense is BIG money for BIG corporations! When it no longer becomes profitable to start wars, the USA will never get involved in war. Simple economics.

      May 24, 2011 at 09:52 | Report abuse |
  3. Lasciel

    Make a real Air Quality Act with teeth. Ban smoking and reduce emissions.

    May 24, 2011 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mariano

    Second hand smoke in an open place?, like in a park full of air circulation? Cigarette butts?, What about the disgusting bubble gum stuck on sidewalks. New York has more bubble gum chewers than smokers and many of them spit it out to the floor.

    May 24, 2011 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Beth Sherling

    Makes no sense that I have to wake up to horrible cigarette smoke in my apartment from the apartment across the hall while all my possessions smell like smoke, when in a park I can choose to walk away from the horrible smell. Still I'm happy to walk through a park smoke-free.

    May 24, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Phil

    Wonderful....more government control over our lifes.

    May 24, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      More gov control over our lives? Well, if you are a smoker, sure. If you are a non-smoker, it means less control over the air you breathe by smokers who happen to be near you.

      Why should you get to blow your disgusting smoke into my lungs but somehow be immune from the government telling you not to do that in public places.

      May 25, 2011 at 02:52 | Report abuse |
  7. Fiery Buddha

    While I'm all for civil liberties and the rights of the people, I must admit – this is cool. There is NOTHING worse than being at a nice outdoor restaurant or enjoying a great walk or sit in a park and being assailed by someone's stinky cigarette smoke. So while I lament a freedom being taken away for some, I celebrate the freedom to breathe slightly less stinky, cleaner air for many.

    May 24, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. TXMom

    "2009 study carried out by the New York City Department of Health found that 57% of non-smokers had elevated levels of nicotine, an indicator or exposure to secondhand smoke"
    Um, how many of those ppl live with one or more smokers??? Stupid to ban it outside. Big Brother is alive and well, and running the nanny state! We poor adults are so incompetent to take care of ourselves that we have to have the giovernment do it. Fraking stupid!

    May 24, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. darryl

    Comparing second-hand smoke to bubble gum? And Phil, "Wonderful, more government control over our lifes."? Actually you meant "lives", BUT, the tobacco industry has control of your life Phil, THEY OWN YOU! Cigarettes contain an addictive drug that will kill you and harm those close to you, it should be illegal, and would be except for the greed of the tobacco industry. Smokers are slaves to the tobacco industry, and they defend their addiction simply because they can't quit. The tobacco industry is not worried that more and more people are smart enough to quit, because those who are so addicted that they can't quit will pay more for that pack of cigs and make up the difference. If a smoker is hungry and only has a few dollars, he'll buy a pack of cigarettes rather than a sandwich.

    May 24, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. East Coast

    I cannot wait until they pass a law like this where I live. There is nothing worse than taking your children to the park and breathing in others' suicidal cancer emissions. Kill yourselves (and your children by default) but leave my family alone. Take your stink somewhere else. darryl, EXCELLENT post.

    May 24, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. James

    The arguments from both sides are ignorant and pointless. Vehicles are not a requirement, not a necessity. Ever hear of walking? *Cue the "but i work 70 miles from home" comments* Thats your choice, just like smoking is a choice. Move closer or get a different job. People only get upset when a ban affects something they personally do. If the ban was a limit on miles driven in a day the arguments would be flopped. Get over yourselves and grow up. Almost everything in this world can harm you in some way (tobacco smoke, emissions from vehicles, too much sugar, too much caffeine, swallowing toothpaste, prescription drugs, otc drugs, car wrecks, homicide, etc, etc, etc) Its dangerous business walking out your front door...

    May 24, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Technonut

    Has anyone thought about the dangers of the pollution caused by the big OIL companies? OIL refineries spout out harmful levels of cancerous emissions on a daily basis, yet the government and OSHA claims that the levels are not harmful to people or our envireonment. We have been hoodwinked by our government and the OIL companies for decades. They ignore the high rates of Birth Defects, Mis-carriages, Cancer, Asthma, etc... Its all about money and profit and never about
    the people. If there is a hell below....We're all gonna go!

    May 24, 2011 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. jc

    you know, if the majority of smokers were mindful to throw their discarded butts into trash cans or the specifically, i don't think there would be much concern over public use of cigarettes. they are hands down the worst group of litter bugs ever.

    May 24, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Red Rider

    [ James

    The arguments from both sides are ignorant and pointless. Vehicles are not a requirement, not a necessity. Ever hear of walking? *Cue the "but i work 70 miles from home" comments* Thats your choice, just like smoking is a choice. Move closer or get a different job. ]

    I build houses, are you suggesting that I move every few days / weeks to be near my work so I can push a cart filled with a ton of tools to work ? ? ? Geting materials may also be a chore.

    May 24, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      No I'm not suggesting that. I'm suggesting that using an auto isn't always a necessity. Most of the people that complain about second hand smoke are the same ones that will drive a SUV 1/2 mile to McDonalds and think nothings wrong with that. Where I live we also have the problem of government funded construction going to businesses that are based 2 states away instead of a local company that is based 2 miles away. Thats pointless pollution caused by the transit required. Is it the fault of the contractor? Absolutely not, you have to make a living. Does it change the fact that its still polluting the air? Not one bit. My point was that second hand smoke is far down on my list of environmental hazards that are killing me. Banning outdoor smoking is pointless. Have you ever seen the hoodvents in a commercial kitchen? They get covered with grease that condenses from the air, and I'm sure the customers in the dining area have to be breathing some of it in. Unless you are a smoker, cigarette smoke is not the worst thing in the air you breath.

      May 24, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  15. venessa`

    as a mom of two and one of them with asthma i love the new law about not smoking in the parks and the others stated. i hate when i am walking in a store and have to smell smoke, or when my girls are playing at the park and they have to leave because people are rude and smoke on the play ground. the park is for kids not smokers.......... just because you want cancer doesnt mean i do or that my kids do. i dont smoke for a reason, and i dont want to walk around smelling it. i cant wqait for the day when smoking is illegal. probly whont ever happen. i live in cali and wish that we would get the same laws. GO NEW YORK

    May 24, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. ohcomeon

    I am sure breating the man made pollution in the air/smog is doing more harm to the citizens of the USA than a person sitting on a park bench having a smoke will anyday. Start with cleaning up the air pollution not related to cigs.

    May 24, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. ohcomeon

    OH TYPO.. Lord forbid.. breathing

    May 24, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Justin

    Non-smokers will not be happy until tobacco is added to the controlled substances list. Remember, if you're ever within a 30 mile radius of a smoker, there's a 3000% increase in your chances of developing cancer.

    May 24, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. venessa`

    i will be happy when tobacco is considered a controlled substance. when you think about it, it is. it is a nasty habit and it should of been illegal a long time ago. its about time people start looking into banning it. hopefully in the near future we will see more states with the same laws as New York.

    May 24, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mario

    And in related news, murder rates, road rage, and gun violence have tripled in New York. (j/k)

    May 24, 2011 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Dan Healy

    I did one little google search and found this...

    But EPA's proposed boundaries miss the mark. EPA has omitted 41 power plants that are either in or directly adjacent to nonattaining metro areas. The biggest polluters that were left out are the J.M. Stuart coal-fired power plant in Adams County, Ohio, which is adjacent to the Cincinnati metropolitan area. In 2002, this plant discharged over 117,000 tons of SO2 and over 46,000 tons of oxides of nitrogen. The Homer City coal-fired power plant in Indiana County, Pennsylvania and adjacent to the Pittsburg metropolitan area was also left out. In 2002, this plant discharged over 105,000 tons of SO2 and over 25,000 tons of NOx.

    Now, who is joking whom? These clowns called politicians aren't protecting anyone. It's called doing something instead of WORKING! Try fixing Wall Street... try doing something about poverty... try doing something about ignorance.... Banning smoking is STUPID when we belch out these gases from coal fired plants.

    May 24, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Desperate Amateurs

    Lighten up already.....Too soon?

    May 25, 2011 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. marilynkenyon

    In fact, advocates have lied about the effects of so-called 2nd hand smoke and their real intent, all along, was to chase and harass the smokers and to do so in the areas they most enjoyed smoking such as restaurants, bars, public parks and other areas http://bit.ly/ieNRzF

    May 25, 2011 at 03:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Just Me

    With the amount of pollution floating through the air in New York City, secondhand smoke should be the least of peoples' worries. What are they going to do next...tell people they can't smoke in their own houses because someone might walk by an open window and inhale secondhand smoke?

    May 25, 2011 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. SAM

    But they can Drink and drive,walk around with a beer in their hands,SMoke dope,and take pills

    May 26, 2011 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. SAM

    health hazard" claims are greatly exaggerated The BMJ published report can be found here:http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7398/1057And concludes:The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.What makes this study more significant than any other is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers..... meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality.This report was of course silenced in the media; however in light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws.Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study which concluded "..secondhand smoking doesn't cause cancer..

    May 26, 2011 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. SAM

    ANy questions ANTI'S ?

    May 26, 2011 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Ashley Singleton

    I'm glad that smoking is now banned at beaches and parks in New York now there is NO good argument against this ban. NONE. There is no reason we should have to deal with other people's secondhand smoke. They keep going on and on about their "rights". They still have the right to smoke but no one else should have to suffer from their decision to do so.

    May 31, 2011 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
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