The threat of yet another smoking ban is looming over the heads of cigar-loving New Yorkers, and this time Mayor Michael Bloomberg is targeting the great outdoors.
A new law backed by the mayor would make New York city's parks and beaches off limits for smoking. The mayor famously banned smoking inside all of the city's restaurants, bars and offices, virtually every indoor spot.
At a Wednesday press conference the mayor spoke about the "dangers of outdoor smoking," and the problems with litter from cigarette butts and the lack of fresh air for those seeking it in public parks. He spoke about his administration's work to stop smoking, saying his administration had "established the principal that people who choose to smoke don't have a license to poison the air that others breathe in public spaces."
The law would ban smoking in the entirety of Central Park (843 acres), some 1700 other city parks and 14 miles of city beaches. The bill, presented to the city council yesterday, has to be heard in committee and then put to a vote by the council.
"Ridiculous and sad, if it passes," wrote a cigar smoker posting as AZCigarNut on the Cigar Aficionado Online forums. "Not sure if/when the mass-awakening is going to happen that this is precisely the type of stuff bigger-government leads to: more governmental control and less individual liberties."
The law, if it passes, would not affect sidewalks or private businesses where smoking is presently allowed, such as rooftop bars.