Streams

Open Phones: Smoking Ban in NYC Parks and Beaches

Thursday, February 03, 2011

It's the city that never sleeps, and now the city that never smokes.

The City Council passed a ban on smoking in parks, pedestrian plazas and beaches in New York City yesterday. What do you think about the ban?

Call in or leave your comment here to share your opinion of the ban set to affect the city's 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beaches.

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Comments [75]

me from brooklyn

I never smoke in the park, or on the beach if there are people next to me. This law smells. Smells like dictator. It should've been given to the people to vote for it. Why would I get a ticket, lets say in Prospect park, if I sit by myself and there is nobody around me and I enjoy my only cigarette for the day.
If Lawberg cares that much about he air- what about people who drive big cars without they need to. Just for fun and to show themselves what expensive big SUV they can drive. What about these same big poluting the air and playing loud music at 4AM under my windows????

Feb. 05 2011 09:33 PM
Mike from Inwood

It's kind of amusing what Brian considers to be a 'progressive' argument against the smoking ban. It has to involve minorities being denied their rights. Sometimes, he is such a PC clown.

Feb. 05 2011 01:00 AM
Laisze from Manhattan

I would like to know if it is true that driving is really just as bad as smoking. Cars don't put out carbon monoxide anymore.

Feb. 04 2011 10:46 AM

If smokers care to DRINK their nicotine and carcinogens, they certainly could do so in a park or apartment. However, smoke really travels (in many ways, heretofore unknown. 2010 produced amazing and scary research), and smokers don't have the right to hurt anyone else.

--2ndhand smoke was designated a CLASS A CARCINOGEN by the EPA in 2003. Wed don't permit anyone to blow asbestos or arsenic in our faces (also Class A). WHY WOULD WE PERMIT SMOKERS TO POISON THEIR NEIGHBORS, OR STRANGERS ON THE STREET??? (there is a reason: see * below)

--Secondhand smoke is now known to be 3-4x as toxic as the smoke a smoker inhales.

--Inhaled smoke can mutate genes (which is what causes cancer) within 20-30 minutes.

--*Cigarette companies want you to think 2ndhand smoke is a trivial (or even hysterical) issue.

--*Cigarette companies support hundreds of websites promoting the idea of smoking as a personal freedom.

--there is NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO SMOKE !!

YAY for the ruling!!

Feb. 03 2011 06:39 PM
kenneth criss from jamaica ny

I would advise the smokers who called in to the show to schedule an appointment with a throat doctor . I had early cancer of the vocal cords and all the patients at the hospital sounded like these callers.

Feb. 03 2011 04:48 PM
elyee from Queens NY

As for Nancy's distance of 18", standing in line at a Bus Stop next to a Smoker is bad at any distance. It is about being forced into a situation that is not of your own doing. Am I to miss my bus or stand in the rain b/c of an inconsiderate smoker? I should not be forced to.

Feb. 03 2011 02:15 PM
Kevin Orton from Manhattan

We live in a populous city where people do alot of things we don't all necessarily like or approve of.

The public park ban is not going to solve the problem, it's just going to move it to the sidwalks/streets where non-smokers will be exposed to it anyway.

While 1st & 2nd hand smoke may be harmful, unfortunately, it's a legal substance. And across the board, the way we deal with it in this country is hypocritical and counter-productive. We ban, tax & decry it---yet freely allow & promote it's sale.

So long as it's legal, one should have the right to smoke at their discretion--- just as it's equally valid one has the right to not be exposed to it.

Classic Catch-22.

If we make cigarettes illegal, that's one thing. But despite known dangers, it remains legal. And as long as it is, sadly it seems one is depriving another of a basic civil liberty to ban it.

Lastly, any ban or complaint is not going to prevent smoking. In the park or otherwise. Infact, the more you alienate--- the more you will aggravate.

Who's ever successfully treated addiction with scare tactics, derision, alienation & complaint? And that's what smoking is. An addiction.

If you want someone to quit, alienating them & making them feel like a crap second class citizen is more likely to reinforce the habit than prevent it.

Can't believe some people haven't figured that out yet.

At this point, if one wants to live in a smoke-free world, the way to eradicate it is through support & understanding. Not ban, intolerance & complaint.

Feb. 03 2011 01:42 PM
L

Comparing cigarette smoke to auto exhaust must end until all cigarettes are required to have catalytic converters.

Feb. 03 2011 01:25 PM
Eddie from Bronx

What about the people who need to smoke? Personally as someone who has just quit I consider the ban to be another incentive but I don't think it is right to take park interiors away from people who can't quit. This is a progressive law but some older people have become addicted before the City Council started their mission to fix us.

The motives sound good. Cigarettes in the sand on the beach are disgusting and washing out into the ocean is even worse but we don't deserve one bench on the boardwalk? Would ten or twelve "smokers benches" in Central Park be too much to ask?

Smoking is already banned in the Bronx Zoo but since the ban was imposed by people with common sense there were three smoking sections, now two. Unlike the the righteous City Council members treating smokers like subhumans there was a balance. Non smokers can easily avoid these areas and smokers learned to live with a fairly long walk to a place for a fix.

While the City Council thinks it better if smokers just stayed clear of any interior park activities I've had experiences that felt like discrimination. I was in San Francisco visiting the deYoung and decided I needed a cigarette. So I went outside and asked if there was a smoking section. The police office told me I would "need to leave Golden Gate Park." I think that is about a one mile walk! I compare that with an earlier smoking ban back when smokers were considered human. Smoking has not been allowed for several years at the Santa Monica Pier but there is a section for smokers.

As a New Yorker who has lobbied the City Council to ban the sale of cigarettes in the five boroughs. As a New Yorker who has either just quit or just started smoking and someone who strongly feels that smoking would be in my distant past if it meant leaving the city to start again, I think that while every New Yorker should have a right to a smoke free environment, smokers who grew up in an environment where governments allowed "merchants of death" to educate the youth of America by presenting smoking as the only real way to "look cool" should offer a few small sanctuaries.

There is something wrong when the answer is not a first step but "Screw You." It sounds like a mission of discrimination. Perhaps when the children of today grow up would be a time to make the vast parks of the city totally smoke free but there is something wrong when we don't deserve a smokers only place today. There is something wrong with the representation of those suffering from an addiction that was condoned not
long ago but then again this is New York where there is little to no concern about the lack of public restrooms.

Feb. 03 2011 01:17 PM
Jon from NYC

Smoking is a legal product, so if you want to smoke you should be able to. At the same time, however, I think I should be able to say on my tax bill that my medicare/caid taxes WILL NOT go to those suffering from firsthand smoking related illnesses. So go and smoke away wherever you want, but please please please don't go to the hospital when you get sick. After all, we're in a recession and sick people who didn't knowingly harm themselves deserve our assistance first.

(oh, and on the poll, I voted against the ban)

Feb. 03 2011 12:31 PM
Alfred from brooklyn

Responding to Valerie and some others: I think that she meant to say that the $6/pack she referred to, goes to taxes.

Re clothing smell and suchlike: I don't like cleaning, say, the black soot off of my window sills either, but i live in a big, huge, dirty wonderful city with all kinds of people who have all kinds of habits co-exist.

Re bringing the noise issue into it: don't get me started on the noise thing. More than cleaning black windowsill soot, I love hearing about folks who move to the LES or some other club and bar district with cache and art and such going on, and then proceed to decimate said cache etc by systematically complaining everything that makes the place vibrant out of existence.

Y'all, please move to someplace makes sense for your values and lifestyle, and stop trying to remake New York in your image.

Feb. 03 2011 12:24 PM
Ashraf Sewailam from Jersey City, NJ

In the case of cars, which are an indispensable mode of transportation, we have strict emission laws; so why are the smokers so angry about a dispensable habit when THEIR emissions are being restricted?
Continuing to disregard the rights of people who have to second-hand smoke with them is like insisting on drinking and driving and calling personal freedoms.

Feb. 03 2011 12:22 PM
Ray Lindie from Brooklyn

I am not a smoker,BUT how dare King Mike the Bike,and his court, again by decree, impose more of his, what's good for his kingdom. Why doesn't he ban the sale of cigarettes in NYC ? Oh no we need the tax revenue!!!

Feb. 03 2011 12:20 PM
Paul from NYC

The bill goes too far, and as many bills do -- since they are all about control of the human behavior of the many -- by the few -- it's also unethical. And foolish as well. For example, the situation at New York City beaches over the past decade has been that because of the general trend in changing weather, there has been an increase in windy conditions so that a "calm day at the beach" (as one person wrote) has proved to be rare. The ability to even light a cigarette is difficult, and the strong air currents tend to make "second-hand" smoke inhalation a non-event. The bill won't succeed. It won't be enforceable. You'll see.

Feb. 03 2011 12:16 PM
Kathleen E Lo Pinto Vignolini from NJ

Yet another misguided control of the public, & way for Bloomberg to decrease his deficit! It will be unenforceable. Today's science on this subject is iffy at best, and has become politicized at worst.
Cars, Diesel Trucks, Garbage (& dumps), Chemical plants, & other businesses spew out more toxins than smoking ever could, no matter how many smoke outside.
Just look at where asthma is concentrated and you will find the above toxins are most prevalent!
This law will cause a decrease in tourists, & other visitors from going to NYC, ergo, have a detrimental effect on the economy.

Feb. 03 2011 12:08 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm a non-smoker, but up till a few years ago I would've been against this bill. I figured that out in the open was the only place smokers had left where they could still smoke, & as long as they didn't insist on doing it upwind of me I had no problem w/it. Then I met a friend of a friend who's so sensitive to cigarette smoke that she can't even go close enough to smokers in the park to ask them to stop or move upwind, & has to ask her friends to do it for her, or she'll have a severe reaction. So I'm more ambivalent now, esp. because I'm not sure how both sides could be accommodated.

Feb. 03 2011 12:07 PM
paulb from Prospect Heights

Isn't Bloomberg a cigar smoker? I'm pretty sure he was once on the cover of Cigar Aficianado. I suppose he has a room in his house with special filters and ventilation. You're not likely to see him on a park bench reading the paper with a dog leash wrapped around his legs.

Feb. 03 2011 12:04 PM
Nick from Area 51

I hate the smell of smoke and have never smoked in my life, but tobacco is a legal product and a highly taxed product. We need to back off a bit on the do's and don't's - I don't want to live in a nanny state.

What's next? Ban cheap perfume? Arrest people who pass gas? Outlaw cars and busses if they use petroleum fuels? Ban dirty-water-hotdog stands unless they serve turkey franks? Require everyone to buy and use mouthwash or deodorants? This is NYC... Enough already.

Feb. 03 2011 12:04 PM
art525 from Park Slope

I was a smoker from the age of 14. I smoked at least a pack a day. When the smoking restrictions started and I couldn't smoke in my office and I was lectured by nonsmokers I was angry and felt persecuted. Then I was fortunate enough to stumble on "The Mad Russian" Yefim Shubentsov on Boston who takes away your smoking addiction. I don't know how it works but I have never had another urge to have a cigarette. At first I had no problem with smokers but as time has gone on I find I am offended to be exposed to someone else's smoke. You are harming other people when you do it. I also find it sad and pitiful to see people being slaves to the addiction, huddling outside buildings on cold days. The argument about cars is a nonstarter for me. Pollution is an unfortunate side affect from cars but cars do serve a necessary purpose. There is no good that comes from cigarettes. The whole defense in fact strikes me as desperate. And while I have no love for our mayor and his intruding in people's lives on this one he's right. I remember something I was told in my high school civics class- Your rights end at your neighbors nose. That couldn't be more appropo to this argument.

Feb. 03 2011 12:03 PM
Natalie from Staten Island

Government regulation and intrusion are far greater hazards than second hand smoke. Does anyone remember demonstration signs from years ago: "Keep your hands off our bodies", or "Stay Out of Our Bedrooms"? Well, what has happened to that mentality? Why is government intrusion so acceptable today? BigBrotherMike and BigSisChristine: Stay out of my life!

Feb. 03 2011 12:01 PM
Chris from Murray Hill

Yes!
Smoking bans can never go far enough.
Smoking should be banned on sidewalks.
I have had asthma in the past. And now I have to breathe a significant amount of second-hand smoke everyday, just walking to and from work and around my neighborhood...

Feb. 03 2011 12:01 PM
Mary Dobbin

It is wonderful to ban smoking in parks. Maybe more people will stop smoking. The air needs to be as good as possible for all people. When we walk in a park, we need to breathe as freely and cleanly as possible. I am all for it. Thanks for the opportunity to share thoughts.

Feb. 03 2011 12:01 PM

You can put anything u want in your mouth Myrna but why should I pay your healthcare bills when u turn 65?

Feb. 03 2011 12:01 PM
Russell from Jersey City

I agree with the majority of most of the caller within the last 15 minutes of the show....

Mayor Bloomberg is a dictator...

...AND AN *******

Feb. 03 2011 12:01 PM
Unheard from NYC

God bless you Myrna.

Feb. 03 2011 11:59 AM
Jeb from Greenpoint

I think the more important topic is: what is the end game? Is this another step toward the banning of smoking? And what effect will that loss of tax revenue have on state and local budgets?

Feb. 03 2011 11:59 AM
frank from west village

Smoking is an option that annoys and infringes on the health on others not a god given right. If you are caught having a drink on the street, anywhere I will be given a ticket, why should smokers be treated any differently?

Feb. 03 2011 11:58 AM
Nancy

According to the 12/2010 editorial in Cigar Aficionado magazine, the study this law is based upon found that, outdoors, second-hand smoke is hazardous only within 18 inches and downwind from a smoker. When was the last time you were within 18 inches of anyone in a NYC park?

Feb. 03 2011 11:58 AM
Will from Brooklyn

I'm a vocal anti-smoker. However I feel this bill possibly goes too far, but what I hope it would help is the litter that smokers create. I read that cigarette butts are the biggest cause of trash on the beach. I've never understood why smokers find it acceptable to simply throw their waste on the ground, especially in parks. If this bill curbs this litter in parks and public places, then it might be a good thing.

Feb. 03 2011 11:58 AM
Iguanaluv from Sunset Park, Bklyn

Thank goodness! It's about time. I can't stand being forced to inhale second hand smoke. It disgusting! If I wanted to smoke I would light a cigarette and smoke it of my own free will but I don't!

Smokers are so inconsiderate. There's enough crap in the air to breath without having to breath in someone's second hand smoke.

Feb. 03 2011 11:58 AM
Ivana from Yorkville

This ban does not go far enough. Smoking must be banned from the sidewalks and streets to help improve the air for people who can't stand not only the smell of smoke but don't want to be exposed to the toxins, especially important in a high density population city like New York.... Next we need to figure out how to ban the cars running the engines, idling at the curb . We must ultimately eliminate gasoline-fueled cars, of course, which would be the best thing... alternate fuels like electric cars is what we need...

Feb. 03 2011 11:58 AM

GOOD give them tickets and make them pay, we need the money!

as for the car exhaust tax that too!
congestion pricing and tax oil and sugar too!

Feb. 03 2011 11:58 AM
Hannah from Red Hook

I have asthma, as do my brother and aunt, so second hand smoke not only unpleasant but dangerous to us. I will be delighted not to choose between wheezing and an awkward exchange with a stranger.

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
Marty from Forest Hills

I'm a non-smoker and I'm opposed to smoking. But I think this bill goes too far.

The fact is that in a park or even in Times Square, you don't have to be near anyone who is smoking.

I think smoking is disgusting and bad for your health. But I still think that smokers have certain rights when their smoking doesn't impose upon others. And as a practical matter, I might pick up more second hand smoke walking into the park with the smokers congregating outside, than I would inside the park.

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
ml

I'm a fervent anti-smoking person, but this is a little much. In parks it can be annoying to have to move away from smokers, but it's not like the entire park is populated by smokers.

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
Dash from NYC

Littering laws haven't stopped smokers from pretending that butts aren't trash. Maybe this ban will finally reduce the amount of butts we're forced to look at in our public spaces. I'm all for it.

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
Adriane from East Village

I am just thrilled. I've often been disturbed in Tompkins Square Park by smoke from other park goers. Also, I anticipate that our beaches will be much cleaner without the cigarette butts that currently litter the sand everywhere.

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
pbell from Upper West Side

What difference does it make if the smoker is on the outer perimeter of a park or in the park? I am against the ban and a non-smoker. What about some common sense and consideration?

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
Tony Jannetti from Bowery/Nolita

I am a non-smoker; I think this has gone too far.

Feb. 03 2011 11:56 AM
Ken from Little Neck

I have to say, I have absolutely no sympathy for smokers here - they are deciding to slowly commit suicide, and good for the city council making it harder for them to take the rest of us with them.

Feb. 03 2011 11:56 AM
Ken from Soho

How about charging smokers with attempted suicide?

Feb. 03 2011 11:56 AM
AdamNYC from Manhattan

Man, smokers in this city feel entitled. Not only do the litter everywhere, but they get so outraged when someone asks them NOT to smoke nearby. This law is a great thing. Let's go a step farther and ban them in all non-private spaces.

Feb. 03 2011 11:56 AM
marissa from Manhattan

Someone should invent a helmet that smokers can use so only they get saturated with their smoke - if you have a self-contained smoking unit, then go ahead and smoke in the park. If not, then you don't have the right to pollute my air.

Feb. 03 2011 11:56 AM

Smokers are inherently inconsiderate. Screw them.

Feb. 03 2011 11:56 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

Anyone who smokes is an idiot, pure and simple. You are willfully killing yourself. If you're so desperate for nicotine, there are less harmful methods of delivery.

If you like the smell and taste of a tar-laden, heavy metal-saturated, chemically inundated mass produced mess of low-quality tobacco, there is something wrong with you.

Just shoot yourself instead if you're so desperate to die. Nobody wants to pay for your health problems, nor wants to be the victim of the pollution that curls from your cigarette and escapes your lungs when you exhale.

Feb. 03 2011 11:55 AM
Nes from Manhattan

Speaking from the center of a transitioning former smoker, I understand that many smokers are inconsiderate to others, and reading some of the comments posted by supporters of the smoking ban, one understands that their complaints are real and legitimate. While I am sensible to these grievances, I get the impression many of these same advocates for the law change are not taking into serious consideration the right of the smoker, and the penalties he or she is already paying. Are cigarette prices $10-12 in NYC alone? That's an excessive tax penalty for a New Yorker to pay. And arent these same smokers paying city taxes, which in turn oversees most of the New York City parks?

Feb. 03 2011 11:55 AM
JT

These are among the places they visit and I wonder what will happen as tourists get slapped with fines on their vacations.

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
MP from Brooklyn

So many of these comments and callers have just reinforced for me how obnoxious smokers can be.

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
Iguanaluv from Sunset Park, Bklyn

Thank goodness! It's about time. I can't stand being forced to inhale second hand smoke. It disgusting! If I wanted to smoke I would light a cigarette and smoke it of my own free will but I don't!

Smokers are so inconsiderate. There's enough crap in the air to breath without having to breath in someone's second hand smoke.

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
Dave from Manhattan

Very, very dangerous manipulation and use of power. Smokers are an easy target. Neither cigarettes nor smokers bother me. However, Bloomberg and Quinn do.

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
carolita from nyc

How many times have I finally found a seat in the Broadway pedestrian mall midtown only to find myself seated next to a smoker whose smoke is going directly into my nostrils as I try to have my lunch in the fresh air and sunshine? YES. I'm glad for this new law. Let the smokers find somewhere else to smoke. Or let them smoke e-cigarettes, which are not offensive at all. Auto-exhaust is like ambient noise, not at all in the same category.

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
marissa from Manhattan

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
Patricia from FH

I think it's great! Ban the smoking from the public places. I'm sick of choking because someone wants to stand next to me and puff away....I have a right to enjoy the parks and beaches too.

Feb. 03 2011 11:54 AM
Dennis Gagomiros from UWS

Ridiculous. I'm not a smoker, but this goes too far. It's plain old stupid. Try enforcing it. Folks smoke pot in the parks with impunity, now. Stupid idea.

Feb. 03 2011 11:53 AM
Charlie Roberts from Highlands, NJ

Enough already!

OK . . . here's the deal . . . pass the smoking ban but repeal the taxes on cigarettes.

Fair enough?

Feb. 03 2011 11:52 AM
brian from brooklyn

I'll give up smoking and take up driving and barbecuing.

Feb. 03 2011 11:51 AM
JT

Is this about curbing second smoke? I would think that's more an issue on the crowded sidewalks than the areas this ban affects.

Feb. 03 2011 11:51 AM
Mike from Park Slope

John B.,
Car emissions should also be regulated. This is not an either-or issue. In CA, smoking is banned most places and car exhaust is controlled by the strictest emission standards in the country. Every year a car owner must get their car smog checked to make sure its up to code. While LA still has volume issues, the air quality has improved considerably and the combination of car laws and smoking laws has made breathing better for everyone.

Feb. 03 2011 11:45 AM
MP from Brooklyn

I think that Nick from UWS has amply demonstrated the problem of inconsiderate smokers - "I'll smoke anywhere I god**mn f***king well please." Nice.

Feb. 03 2011 11:42 AM
valerie opielski from brooklyn

right now smokers are the all the rage in bad guys, but the reason smoking is a societal issue has a lot more to do with economics, marketing and business practices than some poor schmuck who pays taxes and now can't smoke either inside OR outside.

there are a lot bigger "bad guys" walking around the planet right now and i think this law is frivolous, unenforceable, hypocritical and a distraction from much more important things. ban cars from the city and stop charging $6/per pack per day, on the back of each poor addict, then we can talk about health concerns for real.

moreover, let's not ignore the bigger picture, that the US approach to drugs and drug laws has created a shadow economy, in which the various tiers of government benefit as much as any drug lord from drug use, be it legal [via taxes et al] or illegal [via police/security jobs, seizures, creation of a permanent underclass of addicts, etc.

this law is SO not an example of the honorable "american spirit" that our country strives to have a reputation for.

thank you.

Feb. 03 2011 11:42 AM
Nathaniel from Roosevelt Island

Smoking should be banned in public places. There have been many times I am in public spaces where smokers decide to light up and enjoy a cigarette or cigar. They don't see me hours later coughing, or cleaning my clothes. People's rights are end at the tip of their nose. We all have the right to clean air, there is no constitutionally protected right to smoke where ever one wishes. The smoker inhales smoke through a filter, yet they are subjecting the rest of the public unfiltered carcinogens The mayor should sign the bill.

Feb. 03 2011 11:36 AM
Nick from UWS

I think this is beyond outrageous. What is this police state nonsense?

Are they going to deny the hard working people of New York a quiet cigarette or cigar in the park after a hard day's work? That's what they would do, is it? They're going to send squads of cops into Times Square and ticket every European tourist who's smoking a cigarette? Way to go Michael Bloomberg, you hopeless hick. Making the city so welcoming to adults with this infantile nonsense. This is not your job Bloomberg.

This is NEW YORK CITY. Who are these meddling nobodys to poke their noses into the lives of the hard working and tax paying adults of this city? The parks and streets belong to the people; we pay for them. I'll smoke anywhere I god**mn f***king well please.

Feb. 03 2011 11:31 AM
MP from Brooklyn

elyee - YES! YES! YES! I have been saying this for years. It is unbelievable how inconsiderate some smokers can be.

Feb. 03 2011 11:28 AM
elyee

Actually there should be a Ban on Smoking at Open-Air Bus Stops. You have to endure Second-Hand Smoke if you want to keep your place on the line.

Feb. 03 2011 11:27 AM
John B. from LIC

Mike from Park Slope:

I believe that is one of my points though...where is that line? I'm sure you will agree that it is a very fuzzy one. Ear-blasting music would be easy to spot but what about a more moderate level? And why not then regulate loud cell phone conversations? You don't seem to find that activity is offensive, but I do. So who then decides?

Likening smoking outdoors to live firing a gun is a gross exaggeration. The two are not the same simply because it can be argued they both present a public health issue to some extent. The degree to which they affect it must also be taken into account. The smoke of a cigarette outdoors is so quickly dissipated that the threat it presents is miniscule. Why not focus on the much greater threat of car exhaust. Studies show the level of carcinogens in the air in our city is mostly attributed to automobiles and factories. If you want to increase the public health, why not go after the true culprit instead of demonizing a portion of the human population?

I agree with other commenters: this is all a slippery slope. Under the City's rationale, we could also ban listening to iPods and talking on cell phones on the streets. It can be aruged that these activities present a threat to the public health too. Likewise, couldn't it be said they present a threat to personal health as well? Earbuds can damage one's hearing and more studies seem to point to the damages being done by cell phones because of the radio signals.

Feb. 03 2011 11:24 AM
Mike from Park Slope

@ John B.

The city should look to regulate noise if they can do so reasonably. Personal freedom in public does not equate to a right to impose your own annoyances on others. To be sure there is a line. Activities that infringe on others have to rise to a certain level. I would think that loud music probably would cross that threshold but talking on cell phones likely would not.

But smoking is clearly an imposition on some citizens by others. No such right is enshrined in our constitution. It is never accessible to force others to just accept the unfavorable situation you create. To state that the label "public" makes this alright is to advocate for an utter state of nature. Consider this in the extreme. One could argue by your logic that firing bullets in a park is just fine so long as you're not aiming at anyone. If other people are effected, well they should have just thought about how they aren't alone in the environment before deciding to go out in public.

Feb. 03 2011 11:09 AM
PatrickBronxville from Bronxville, Southern Westchester

Please convey to your listeners the fact that regulating this activity can meet a constitutional test of the police powers of local governments; please get that fact out. There is a valid debate about whether or not local governments ought to pass such ordinances, from a public health, enforcement priorities, litter or other standpoint, but the right to adopt such an ordinance and enforce such an ordinance is not in dispute.

Feb. 03 2011 11:05 AM
John B. from LIC

Mike from Park Slope :

See my other post. Are you seriously proposing that the government regulate rude behavior? This is NYC and when you go to a public park, dealing with other people comes with the territory. That's one of the basic elements of life in this city: dealing with the behavior and activities of others. I'm personally annoyed at listening to people playing stereos in parks but to ask the city to ban this outright would be to infringe on the rights of the person playing it. I don't like it when people hold loud conversations on their cell phones when I'm trying to enjoy a calm day at the beach. But I also wouldn't ask the city to ban this.

Feb. 03 2011 10:55 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

This law is ridiculous. The city council would do much more honest and cost effective work if they examined the effect of CO2 and other vehicle emissions in the NYC area. Second hand smoke is such a low level risk in the open air compared to all the crap in the air due to cars & trucks in the city. They couldn't pass a congestion toll, so they focus on something arbitrary. I don't even smoke, but it makes me want to light up.

Feb. 03 2011 10:53 AM
Matthias from Manhattan

I am all in favor of smokers' rights so long as they do not infringe on others. People should be able to smoke wherever and whenever they please so long as they do so inside of a helmet-like capsule that contains all of the smoke.

Feb. 03 2011 10:52 AM
John B. from LIC

A public park, plaza or beach is just that, "public." To legislate against one acitivity that some people find offensive opens the gate for any group to take action against an activity they find offensive. Why not also ban stereos, football playing, bicycle riders, etc.

Littering is already prohibited, so if people are concerned about discarded butts let the police enforce laws already on the books.

The nanny state knows no bounds. The next step will be to ban smoking from sidewalks and streets, even though smoking is perfectly legal. If the city really wanted to help those smokers who are addicted to smoking, why not provide funding for nicotine patches or gum, or even smokeless cigarettes (a bill has now been proposed to ban the smokeless cigarettes which have proven immensely more successful in helping smokers wean themselves off cigarettes!).

The city has already targeted transfats, salt and now sugar. Where does it stop? When do people cease being held responsible for their own life decisions?

Feb. 03 2011 10:50 AM
Mike from Park Slope

I agree that laws against electronics while crossing a street would be ridiculous, but as a non-smoker, I can't stand it when I go to a crowded park on a nice day (it happens most in Washington Square Park) and I can't even sit on a bench and eat my lunch without some rude person arriving after, sitting up wind, and puffing smoke at me. I have allergies and breathing problems enough as it is. I don't need to add second hand smoke to it. It completely ruins my experience in the park.

As a side issue, you have only to take a quick glance at all the cigarette butts in the gutters, parks and sidewalks of NYC to see that smokers do not care about anyone else. They are only capable of satisfying their own addiction and will throw their butts everywhere. I challenge any person reading this to find one clean 5' x 5' patch of grass in Prospect Park during the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival that does not have someone's old cigarette butts left there to lay a picnic blanket. You just can't do it. If tossing a cigarette butt on the ground were fined as a littering offense (as it should be) there would be no city budget issues and we'd all have a cleaner place to live.

I applaud this law. At last, rude, littering smokers are finally going to be reigned in from their ignorant abuse of the rights of every other person around them. As far as I'm concerned, they can keep their filthy habit in the privacy of their own homes if they don't have kids, pets, neighbors, or rent from someone else. Otherwise, too bad, chew gum.

Feb. 03 2011 10:48 AM
J.D. from west village

I don't spend any time in bars, not much time in parks, I don't go to the beach -- but I do a lot of walking. Now that smokers can't light up anywhere else, they must smoke on the sidewalks, often in mobs outside doorways. Since all the smoking restrictions, I am breathing more secondhand smoke than ever. There is a bar and grill on the ground floor of my building -- the smoking patrons congregate outside on my stoop and the updraft brings their smoke in thick clouds up into the hallway of my building. Seriously, Mayor for Life Generalissimo Michael Bloomberg micromanages worse than Giuliani, and of course he and his flunky Christine Quinn live lives far from the unintended consequences of his tedious overreaching.

Feb. 03 2011 10:39 AM
Alex from NYC

No matter what you think about individuals rights, and no matter how dangerous or not you think this smoking is, it’s a terrible behavior to blow smoke on to other people. Why should it be more acceptable then burping on to other people? It’s inevitable. if u want to change the status quo of air of the park by lighting a cigarette, it’s like creating a giant plume of burp material on to the other people in the park, and having no control over that plume makes it more of a problem. Law or not, the smoking community needs to adopt some manners.

Feb. 03 2011 10:35 AM
john from office

The City counsel passed the anti smoking law yesterday, you cannot smoke in parks and beaches, it will be enforced by park police

There is a proposed law to ticket people using electronics as the cross the street, headphone and cell phone etc.

There is a point when the law becomes so ridiculous, that they are ignored, leading to further lawlessness. Where more important laws are also ignored.


these are unenforceable.

Feb. 03 2011 10:34 AM

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