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NYC To Ban Smoking At Parks, Beaches

From a cheering New York Times:

New York Eyes ‘No Smoking’ Outdoors, Too


September 15, 2009

New York City’s workplace smoking ban six years ago drove cigarette and cigar puffers outdoors. But soon some of the outdoors may be off limits, too: The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said Monday that he would seek to ban smoking at city parks and beaches.

Dr. Farley said the ban — which officials said may require the approval of the City Council, but could possibly be done through administrative rule-making by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation — was part of a broader strategy to further curb smoking rates, which have fallen in recent years. The proposal, however, seemed to catch Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg off guard.

On Monday night, the mayor, who has championed antismoking programs but also is running for re-election, issued a statement that did not disavow the proposal but appeared to qualify it, saying he wanted “to see if smoking in parks has a negative impact on people’s health.”

He added, “It may not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres, but there may be areas within parks where restricting smoking can protect health.”

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, whose support could be crucial, said she would want the Council to hold hearings on the matter. She said that fines should be modest and not intended primarily to punish, and that any ban should make clear whether areas like boardwalks are affected.

“Conceptually, that’s an idea I’m very, very interested in and open to,” she said of Dr. Farley’s proposal.

Such bans are still rare, though growing in number. A number of municipalities — particularly in California — have banned smoking at outdoor parks, playgrounds and beaches. In 2007, Los Angeles extended its smoking ban, which already covered beaches and playgrounds, to include municipal parks. Later that year, Chicago banned smoking at its beaches and playgrounds, though smoking is still allowed in many parks. This year, California lawmakers took up a measure to prohibit smoking in all state parks and parts of state beaches.

The proposal was contained on Page 10 of a 41-page document, “Take Care New York 2012,” that put forth health policy goals for the next three years including cutting obesity, H.I.V. transmission and drug and alcohol abuse. The antismoking strategy would also include pressing for higher local, state and federal taxes on tobacco and urging organizations and businesses in the city to reject financing and sponsorship from the tobacco industry.

Mr. Bloomberg, who smoked as a young man, faced furious criticism from restaurant and bar owners in 2002 when, in his first year in office, he reached a deal with the City Council on legislation banning smoking in virtually every indoor public or commercial area, including most bars. (Smoking had been banned in most restaurants in 1995.)

But the ban, which took effect in 2003, has since gained widespread acceptance and has been credited with helping drive down the percentage of adults in the city who smoke to 15.8 in 2008, from 21.5 percent in 2002.

The New York City proposal would affect more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities, as well as the city’s seven beaches, which span 14 miles of shoreline

“The issues with secondhand smoke are very real, and the majority of the population today doesn’t want to be breathing in tobacco smoke, whether indoors or outdoors,” said Dr. David A. Kessler, who was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997. “While undoubtedly some will think this is going too far, 10 years from now, we’ll look back and ask how could it have been otherwise.”

Cheryl G. Healton, president and chief executive of the American Legacy Foundation, the smoking prevention group that was created as part of the 1998 master settlement between the tobacco industry and 46 state governments, also applauded the proposal.

“There is no redeeming value in smoking at beaches or parks,” she said in a statement. “Anyone who has sat behind someone smoking a stogie can tell you that. The health risks are real. Secondhand smoke is deadly.”

Remember when people used to joke about things like this?

Such a government overreach was thought to be so absurd.

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “NYC To Ban Smoking At Parks, Beaches”

  1. BillK says:

    Can someone tell me in what universe Michael Bloomberg is a Republican?

    From the New York Post:

    Mayor may ban smoking at parks, beaches

    By Sally Goldenberg

    Mayor Bloomberg is considering banning smoking in public parks and beaches as part of a multi-pronged plan to make New Yorkers healthier, his health commissioner announced today.

    “We don’t think children, parents when they’re standing at soccer games should have to be breathing in smoke from the person next to them,” Commissioner Thomas Farley said after unveiling the city’s plan. “We don’t think our children should have to be watching someone smoke.”

    Farley said since the indoor smoking ban instituted in 2003 has been successful, so the city wants to expand the effort through either legislation or a simple change in policy with the Parks Department. …


    If you don’t think the above sounds exactly like something Mr. Obama would do, how about this:

    Other plans in the “Take Care New York 2012” released yesterday include advocating for lower sodium consumption, encouraging public health insurance carriers to do more preventive care and reminding residents to exercise more.

    Farely said the department does not know how much the 10-pronged plan will cost

    Oh well, Republican, Democrat, same thing, right?

  2. Reality Bytes says:

    Yeah, but slammin’ your buddie’s boloney pony on the Central Park Carousel is your “God” (oops – “natural”) right!

  3. proreason says:

    “There is no redeeming value in smoking at beaches or parks,”

    There is also no redeeming value to liberal thinking.


  4. Reality Bytes says:

    “I Love to Smoke…My Lung Feels Great!” – Andrew “Dice” Clay

  5. greasywrench says:

    Of course when the tax revenues from tobacco drop to an extreme low the pigs in Government will move on to a new source. They remind me of Locusts exausting all available resources and then moving to the next field. I posted on this type of thing on my website twelve years ago. But, smokers are a minority so no one stood up and spoke for us. Now the Health Nazis will move on to a new field and pick it clean.

    Hmmm….what will it be next – Fast food? More alcohol taxes? The sugar industry? The possiblities are endless. So many sources of revenue and so little time.

    BTW, the info is out there on second-hand smoke that points to a massive fraud on the part of the EPA, CDC, etc.. Even the SCOTUS labeled the 1997 study on ETS “Junk Science”.

    Now they’re pretty much done with smokers they’ll be coming after you.

  6. I hate people who smoke in the park – particularly cigars. You go out for fresh air – you get lung full of smoke. It is worse when you try to run. Smoke in a bar – fine. Smoke any business that allows it – fine. Stay the hell out of the park you arrogant jerks.

  7. Reality Bytes says:

    What’s Next One? Banning from parks folks with Irritable bowel syndrome?

    What’s your problem with cigars?! I love the full smoke & aroma from a good cigar; except maybe the next morning when you wake up in your clothes you wore last night; in the backseat of someone’s car & it seems someone carpeted you tongue with a jute underlayment. Then as Borat would say, “not so much!”

  8. crosspatch says:

    Show me any study that says second hand smoke causes any increase in illness. There isn’t one. There WAS one that was cited by a lot of other studies, but it turned out to be bogus. I can see these guys in NY now …

    HEY! Why don’t youse go breathe someplace else? Can’t you see I’m tryin’ ‘da smoke over here? Jeeze!

  9. Smoking is fine – just don’t exhale. Blow cigar smoke in my face – you will experience damage from second hand smoke. Hey, ban that irritable bowel syndrome too. How do you get that? Is it a gay thing?

  10. David says:

    I was at a conference a few weeks ago at Stanford University with a significant number of European participants. During a coffee break my American colleague turned to me and expressed such surprise at the Europeans milling around in the group smoking instead of hiding off in some corner like they were supposed to. I told her I agree, it was as if these Europeans thought this was a free country or something.

  11. Liberals Demise says:

    ‘Bout time! Those taxpaying smokers were getting away with ……. smoking.
    Where is the ban on muggers, gangs, thugs and street performers?

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