NYC Council Readies Public Smoking Ban For NYC


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Attention Times Square denizens and those out for a stroll in Central Park: It will soon be time to put out your smokes — forever.

The New York City Council is slated Wednesday afternoon to approve a ban on smoking in parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas like Times Square. The legislation marks the most ambitious expansion of the city’s antismoking laws since Mayor Michael Bloomberg convinced the city lawmakers to approve a ban on smoking in indoor workplaces and park playgrounds in 2003.

“When this legislation is passed, all New Yorkers will be able to enjoy a walk in the park or a day at the beach without having to inhale secondhand smoke,” said Speaker Christine Quinn when she and the mayor unveiled the proposed legislation in September. ”This bill will save lives and make New York City a healthier place to live.”

Studies have shown that outdoor tobacco smoke levels can be as high as secondhand smoke levels indoors and there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, Quinn and officials in the mayor’s health department have argued. But opponents of the legislation have accused the mayor and the council of infringing on their rights and have disputed the level of risk associated with secondhand smoke.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. proposed compromise legislation that would carve out areas of parks and beaches where people could smoke. But his legislation appeared unlikely to win the day.

“It still has a lot of support,” Vallone said. “I’m disappointed leadership chose to move the original bill and not my compromise.”

The passage of the latest antismoking bill is a major coup for Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner. He persuaded an initially reluctant Bloomberg to move forward with the legislation last year.

“Cigarettes kill some 7,500 New Yorkers every year, and thousands more suffer smoking-related strokes, heart attacks, lung diseases and cancers,” Farley said last September. “New York City’s Smoke Free Air Act has greatly reduced the harm that cigarettes cause to nonsmokers. By expanding the act to cover parks and beaches, we can reduce the toll even further.”

If passed, as expected, the law will take effect 90 days after the mayor signs it into law.

(Source: WSJ)


  1. How about fining people for not properly shovelling their sidewalks Mr. Mayor? You could make a cool million like that. I could tell you where to start.