Smokers Fume But Most Embrace Ban on Lighting Up Outdoors

Monday, May 23, 2011

The majority of those informally polled in city parks supported the smoking ban that went into effect Monday — one that outlaws lighting up in more than a dozen miles of beaches, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas.

 The law was passed earlier this year and officially begins this week. Anyone smoking in a city park, or on a beach, pedestrian plaza or boardwalk is violating the law and subject to a $50 fine.

"I'm shocked," said James Smith, a smoker, who typically has a cigarette in Central Park during his lunch break. "You're telling me this is a law?"

Smith said he would modify his daily routine and would instead have his post-lunch cigarette out of the park. He also said he had been contemplating quitting entirely.

"It is good, but for the smokers it is not so good,” said Andrea Lentman, a tourist from Germany who was strolling among the irises and azaleas in Central Park with a lit cigarette in hand on Monday "It is everywhere forbidden to smoke. We don't know where to go to smoke. In the bar it's not allowed. In the street it's not so good. Now, in the park?"

Only six of about two dozen informally polled supported the rights of smokers to light up wherever they chose.

"Even though it is open air, it is New York City; everything is pretty confined and pretty tight so you've got to respect people's boundaries” said Robby Sharpe, taking a break in the park and listening to an iPod. "It would be no different than listening to loud music. You could be upsetting other people. And it's not just an inconvenience. It's a health issue, too."


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Comments [7]

pworam from Baldwin

It's an overreach. Tobacco products are still legal. I appreciate the argument about second hand smoke and litter, and would agree that public smoking can be a nuisance. However, the intrusiveness of second hand smoke is absolutely nothing compared to car and truck exhaust, and air pollution stemming from heating systems and industrial production. However, I think it is appropriate to institute a modest fine for tossing butts away indiscriminately.

May. 25 2011 09:05 AM
Ron from Brooklyn, NY

I was in Bryant Park yesterday and saw several people light up, totally ignoring the new law, with a defiant look on their faces as they did so. I don't understand the point of having a law that is not enforced the way bus lanes were agressively enforced when they were first instituted. There were plenty of park employees around that could have at least asked that people put out their cigarettes and cigars.

May. 25 2011 08:04 AM
Renfreu Neff from New York City

I stopped smoking 20 years ago & don't like being around people who do smoke. After all the data on its harmful effects there's something pathological about those who continue to smoke.
That said, I still believe that the mayor's ban on smoking in parks & on beaches is a fascistic intrusion on the right of people to kill themselves any way they want to, & I'm looking forward to the law being overturned in the courts.

May. 25 2011 01:02 AM
Alan from Manhattan

Love it, love it, love it. I really don't understand the argument that "it's outside, so I should be able to do what I want." It's outside, I should be able to breathe smoke-free air and walk down butt-free streets and beaches.

May. 24 2011 08:13 PM
Hazel from Manhattan

If the smoking ban in the only legacy Mayor Bloomberg leaves, that quite enough.

May. 24 2011 06:30 PM
R. from Manhattan

Surgeon General's report from 2004.

"There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

It should be completely illegal. Anywhere.

Here is the CDC fact sheet.

May. 24 2011 04:24 PM
Rachelle Alkalay from Forest Hills, NY

I hope this new ban encourages people to stop smoking, As a never-a-smoker, I, for one, appreciate this new law. NYC is a crowded urban environment where you can't always go somewhere else to escape the smoke. I just think that this is a difficult law to enforce and could create instances of confrontational violence between ordinary citizens. I would be very careful before I asked someone I did not know to put out the cigarette. Is it worth it?

May. 24 2011 12:05 PM

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