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Outdoor Smoking Banned in New York City

David Savona
Posted: February 2, 2011

This morning, New York City was blanketed in a shiny coat of slippery ice. Late this afternoon, on a day when puffing in a green park or on a sunny beach seemed worlds away, the City Council of New York voted to ban smoking in outdoor public places.

The move, which passed in a vote of 36 to 12, makes New York City one of the least smoker friendly areas in the United States. The place once deemed "The City That Never Sleeps" is becoming, more and more, The City That Never Smokes.

The ban is the latest move by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to remove possible places to smoke in New York City. In his three terms of office he has championed smoking bans that have removed cigars and cigarettes from bars and restaurants. This newest prohibition will make it illegal to smoke in a 1700 city parks, including the 843 acre Central Park, on 14 miles of city beaches, on boardwalks and marinas, even in the popular pedestrian hangout in the newly designed Times Square. Fines will be $50. The law will not affect city sidewalks or private businesses where smoking is presently allowed, such as rooftop bars.

The move is expected to become law in 90 days--right about the time when the weather in New York will become conducive to spending time outdoors.


Note: The original version of this story had an error in the number of votes cast against the ban.

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Comments   36 comment(s)

stantine972 February 2, 2011 7:38pm ET

I think that SOME people who have to much money, or power sometimes begin to go crazy. We see it in Hollywood and sometimes in Politicians. A feeling that regular citizens are helpless and need people to think for them and protect them from themselves.
I think C.A. should have "the big smoke" in Central Park this year and rename it "the big finger"


M M — NAPERVILLE, IL, UNITED STATES,  —  February 2, 2011 10:50pm ET

What has happened in this country, seriously?


Darren Mawhirter February 2, 2011 11:50pm ET

Thank god I live out in BFE and the only one who can ban where I smoke my cigars is ME! I really feel sorry for all you guys who have to put up with this BS. The worst part is, its not just the new smoking laws but just the amount of laws in general. Heck, I get pissed off when someone tries to tell me that I have to wear a seat belt! You (being the government) have no right to tell me what I can and can not do with my own personal property. If it does not endanger anyone else then it should not be a problem. Same goes for cigar smoking. As long as I am off in my little area where I'm not making people inhale large volumes of my smoke I should be able to smoke them anywhere I darn well please!


Sean Sweeney — AK, United States,  —  February 3, 2011 1:21am ET

Slowly, ever so slowly, we are turning into Canada... I have gotten thrown out of a bar in which a patron is permitted to smoke. All due to the fact that I was smoking a cigar not the crowd favorite Marlboro Lights...


Phil Clarkin February 3, 2011 2:57am ET

This is political suicide, the smokers are going to hate it and the non-smokers probably won't even notice. Why won't politicians start doing something about properly destructive drugs rather than picking on us nicotine fans?


Audrey Silk February 3, 2011 3:49am ET

Guys, it's time. It's time to finally stop treating each other with unspoken arm's length. There is no more risk in "pissing off" the council. They have proven they can never be reasoned with so there's no reason to think "bridges might be burned" if you act out about this.

My organization, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) will be holding a Smoke-In when this law becomes effective. There is no other alternative anymore. I ask you to join forces.


Ray Alfonso — Teaneck, nj,  —  February 3, 2011 7:54am ET

I wonder if rooftop lounges are next. I'm purely a cigar smoker and really am not cigarette friendly but this is ridiculous. Glad I am not living in NYC. I think I'll puff a Cuban tonight on my deck in protest!


GREGORY MOTTOLA — NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES,  —  February 3, 2011 9:21am ET

Seems every time a new law is passed, it's to remove more individual rights, not grant them.


Terry Sanders — New York, NY, USA,  —  February 3, 2011 9:54am ET

We live in a continuous cloud of lethal carbon monoxide gas, which, if you are in an enclosed space with, will kill you within an hour. No ands, buts or maybes.

Tobacco smoke, comprising a tiny fraction of a percent of that cloud we live in, MAY cause respiratory ailments in a period of years, or decades if you are in an enclosed space with it.

There can be no RATIONAL comparison between the risks of tobacco smoke vs the indisputable lethality, and pervasiveness of auto emissions.

Yet, these 'guardians of public health' that are so concerned about our well-being conspicuously ignore these facts in order to pander to managed public sentiments, and in doing so, further abridge our Constitutional rights to live our lives as we see fit.


Christian A February 3, 2011 11:20am ET

Once again the fascists have stomped their jack boots on the necks of our freedom of choice. They claim health concerns? What about the obesity issue we have all over the country? I gotta look at these fat bastards and no one has created laws against that. Kidding aside I would NEVER demand a law to tell other people how they choose to live as we need to be able to make our own educated decisions. Government has so little faith in us.


Greg Ghirardi — New York, NY, United States,  —  February 3, 2011 11:45am ET

AND Bloomberg smokes cigars! Unreal.


David KAufman — Plainview, New York, USA,  —  February 3, 2011 12:02pm ET

It's time to move, taxes are high in New York anyway.


steve peters — las vegas, nevada, clark,  —  February 3, 2011 12:20pm ET

I think all New Yorkers need to stop buying any tobacco product in the state.. When they loose all the reveue on there outragis tax they collect they might , just might come to there senses.


NYC Guy February 3, 2011 12:34pm ET

The issue is not just second hand smoke, which is obnoxious. Progressive cities like NY are trying to stop smoking because we all bear the costs of smokers' health issues.

There is no doubt that smoking leads to illness and death. A quick search on the web will turn up scholarly research like this:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/299/17/2037.abstract?sid=6dc0778f-6555-4417-8adf-143bc3883320

In this study, the smokers under observation were 280% more likely to die than the never-smokers and that doesn't account for all of the related illnesses.

I can think of at least 2 ways that nonsmokers have to bear these costs. The first is through the rates that insurance companies have to charge. Insurance companies base their rates on how much they have to pay out across a population. If the population is sicker, they need charge more. So, everyone pays for smokers.

The other way we all pay the cost is through our taxes, which fund Medicaid. This Gallup poll shows (not surprisingly) that poor people are much more likely to smoke:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/105550/among-americans-smoking-decreases-income-increases.aspx

Who pays for the health issues of the poor? Simply stated, we all do, since our taxes pay for Medicaid. So, there are some good reasons to make it harder to smoke.


Alex Benes — Newbury Park, CA, USA,  —  February 3, 2011 12:56pm ET

Savona, Seriously. Ca-Li-For-Nia. AB


Timothy Quinlan February 3, 2011 2:30pm ET

Hey Sean Sweeney, I am not sure what you are talking about, but I live in Canada and can smoke outdoors anywhere anytime. So how exactly is an outdoor smoking ban in New York turning the US into Canada?


Bob Michelson — Cape Coral, FL, US,  —  February 3, 2011 2:33pm ET

As a former New Englander I never really wanted to live in New York, nor did I ever envy anyone who did. Now that they've gone overboard with this insanity smoking ban I'm glad that I now live in relatively liberal Florida. Sure, even Florida has it's share of smoking bans, but we still have plenty of fine Cigar Bars and other locals where you can light one up. Public parks and beaches? It's still OK to light up in some of them, although some town have bans there.
Question: has Bloomberg and his council buddy's ever walked the streets of New York City? If they did they'd probably inhale more poisonous fumes in one day than all of us could ever puff out as "second hand smoke".


Peter Denardo February 3, 2011 2:54pm ET

In response to nyc guy, how can anyone be more likely to die than anyone else... is there a group of immortals I am unaware of?


Tony Paladino February 3, 2011 3:18pm ET

Audrey Silk - I'm with you but the CLASH website is a friggin disaster. I want to link all my friends to it but it looks completely unprofessional. Your organization would do well to spend $1000 on a web designer.


Miguel Mealha — Lisbon, Oeiras, Portugal,  —  February 3, 2011 4:19pm ET

This is so Orwellian, i feel for you, guys. I don't see that happening any time soon in my country. It's just exaggerated and undemocratic.


Paulo Vieira — Milton, Ontario, Canada,  —  February 3, 2011 4:33pm ET

Here's responding to the NYC guy.

Is tobacco the only product that costs taxpayers money??? If so, i will gladly give up my rights as a smoker but you'll have to stop drinking your Shirley Temples! It amazes me that people continously point a finger at tobacco for the root of all cancers and health costs. Last i checked alcohol and pure dumbassness and ya you read it correctly dumbassness, were much more destructive to society as a hole. I know it's extreme but the people in Egypt have gusto. They've banded together and faught for rights as humans. On a smaller scale, we must do the same. And if it doesn't work, let's go bigtime!


John Gersic — Frisco, Texas, USA,  —  February 3, 2011 4:50pm ET

I had to delete my initial post - I went into a rant. This country is getting pathetic - not only do we not want to take responsibility for our choices but we want government to guarantee that life is without risk. If we all want a the safety of a nanny, be prepared to be treated as the babies we have become. Sad.


Justin O'Brien — Windsor, Ontario, Canada,  —  February 3, 2011 7:48pm ET

I can hardly contain anger reading this, yet another ban on smoking. I back up the car fumes issue 100%. How can you think that a little tobacco smoke is bad for your health but yet we follow buses and cars spewing out fumes all day long. NYC guy is the exact type of commmunism that makes me sick. The funny thing is, Cuba is communist and yet people are flocking there by the thousands to enjoy freedoms of smoking a cigar in bars, restaurans, or on the beach. Here in Canada, they have made grave errors on banning smoking. In Windsor where I reside, our Casino is now empty compared to years of yesturday... because of the smoking ban. 1 mile away in Detroit MI, my parents (who are non-smokers) went to the Greektown Casino the other day and observed quickly that the smoking floors of the Casino were being pumped full of fun and money from gamblers. The non smoking floor had 4 people total gambling. 4. What does this tell you? Like it or not, people enjoy smoking, cigarettes, cigars, a pipe, whatever. You can ban till you're blue in the face, but you can never take away my freedom of smoking a nice cigar on my deck in my yard. People like NYC writer need to find a new hobby rather than piss on peoples parades daily.


Alex Stanton February 3, 2011 10:25pm ET

one place you can still smoke, eat and drink in NYC--a cool bar downtown in SoHo called "Circa Tabac."


Audrey Silk February 4, 2011 1:20am ET

Tony Paladino, $1000.00? Like C.L.A.S.H. even has more than two nickels to rub together since we are solely dependent on private contributions. Don't worry about the web site, let's just link up. All discussion takes place off the site anyway.


stantine972 February 4, 2011 1:32pm ET

I just watched the video "NY cigar havens" again (under the video section) with Gordon and David. It is great video and made me visit most of them.
How long until they change the rules and shut them all down?


Carol Thompson — Madison, WI, US,  —  February 4, 2011 1:49pm ET

The anti-smokers commit flagrant scientific fraud by ignoring more than 50 studies which show that human papillomaviruses cause at least 1/4 of non-small cell lung cancers. Smokers and passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus for socioeconomic reasons. And the anti-smokers' studies are all based on lifestyle questionnaires, so they're cynically DESIGNED to blame tobacco for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV. And they commit the same type of fraud with every disease they blame on tobacco.

http://www.smokershistory.com/hpvlungc.htm

And, all their so-called "independent" reports were ring-led by the same guy, Jonathan M. Samet, including the Surgeon General Reports, the EPA report, the IARC report, and the ASHRAE report, and he's now the chairman of the FDA Committee on Tobacco. He and his politically privileged clique exclude all the REAL scientists from their echo chamber. That's how they make their reports "unanimous!"

http://www.smokershistory.com/SGlies.html

For the government to commit fraud to deprive us of our liberties is automatically a violation of our Constitutional rights to the equal protection of the laws, just as much as if it purposely threw innocent people in prison. And for the government to spread lies about phony smoking dangers is terrorism, no different from calling in phony bomb threats.


David Savona February 4, 2011 4:49pm ET

Alex Benes mentioned California--I never thought I'd see the day where California was more open to cigar smoking than New York City. Unbelievable.


Taylor Franklin February 4, 2011 4:58pm ET

Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall for patios and most businesses as well. This sort of scenario has been played out in many other cities and countries. Carefully dealing-out one law at a time, most citizens comply, adjust, then another one comes, and another . . .


JT Hallbeck — Alamogordo, NM, USA,  —  February 5, 2011 12:55pm ET

NYC is suffering Death By A Thousand Cuts. The highest tobacco taxes that I know of, and now this. Wasn't it also in NYC that someone is being sued for smoking in his own apartment, and his apartment complex allows smoking? Guess I won't be taking a vacation there soon, at least not anything connected to cigars.


JT Hallbeck — Alamogordo, NM, USA,  —  February 5, 2011 1:09pm ET

Here's a Billionaire mayor who crusades against the little people's rights, all in the name of Public Good. Meanwhile, where does he go to have his cigars? Probably hops on his jet and zips down to the Dominican for the weekend. The hipocrasy literally drips off the entire affair. And this is how all of America is railroaded into obedience. We aren't allowed to offend anyone. This is NOT constitutional, no matter how you slice it. 200 years ago, Bloomberg would have been strung up from the nearest tree. Not sure if I should laugh or cry, but I'm probably closer to crying.


James Boag — Bath , Ontario, Canada,  —  February 6, 2011 6:34pm ET

Mr Sweeney,
I will contemplate your "Canada" comment this evening as I sit on a city park bench in Kingston Ontario, and enjoy a real Monte Cristo.
W


Preston Weiters Jr — Jersey City,, NJ, 07305, US.,  —  February 8, 2011 10:35pm ET

2/8/11, It's really not about smoking, at all. This whole thing is about power; by anyone so endowed, to force their will on the powerless; i,e, the ordinary citizen such as I.

Secondhand smoke ranks as the 2nd biggest con after global warming.

Notice the likes of Bloomy never come outright to ban tobacco, they just want to tax it at one end & fine it on the other if you're caught smoking in the wrong place.
I'm in NJ & their smoke ban took effect 4/15/06. I stopped going to bars ever since.

I have found a whole new world online; it's cheaper, too. ~~ Preston Weiters.


Taylor Franklin February 10, 2011 2:47am ET

Many folks have had enough of Bloomy and his anti-smoking jihad.

Irony, he smokes cigars and has been seen in the Caribbean basin.


Richard Fulwider February 12, 2011 2:48pm ET

To the NYC Guy - your state and city, along with many others have consistently and more than many times raised taxes on tobacco products to ofset "health related costs" - You're wrong you FOOL - we already paid out our share many times over and are paying for you - dont get sick - I'll quit smoking just to see folks like you shuttled to a hospice! (the Joya De Nicaragua Antano Dark Corojo made me say it!)


Milena Hannud — São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil,  —  July 8, 2011 2:25am ET

We have a very strict smoking ban here in São Paulo - Brazil. Smokers are not allowed to smoke even in verandas or under canopies.
I believe the Antismoke Industry wants us to DESIRE to quit, but there's absolutelly no interest on us REALLY quitting.
This way we continue to buy tobacco products (thus generating tax revenues) and acquire a new need for meds.


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