Cigar Aficionado

Bloomberg Aims At Outdoor NYC Smoking Ban

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.

"Here is a copy of the letter I sent Senator Duane after attending the Sept 23, 2010 Hearing. Sadly I was the only Cigar Smoker as an individual giving testimony. 23, 2010 Senator Thomas K. Duane 29th District Room 430 State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12247 Dear Senator Duane, Thank you for allowing me to address You & the members of the Health Committee, on Thursday Sept 23, 2010. I apologize for not being an eloquent speaker. As I stated I am just a retired citizen of the Bronx, New York. & a Cigar smoker. 1) I opened with “Smokers are not piranhas on society” I am a father & grandfather & tax-paying citizen. 2)I stated my objection to removing visible displays of tobacco products & accessories. As was previously suggested they be out of view & a catalog be available with all their information. 2A) Cigar & pipe smokers look to see, smell & feel the product of their desire, & choice. Thus many Cigar shops have either walk in humidors. Or the entire shop is humidified & temperature controlled, & the Cigars & tobaccos are available so choose from. 3) As for the decline of smokers since the Tax increase, the number is not true. Many smokers went to other states, the Internet, & Black Market. Thus the decline in the number of Tax Stamps Sold, & the loss of Tax Revenue to the City, State, & Federal Government. 4) Mayor Bloomberg has stated he doesn’t care about the loss of revenue from smokers. It will be made up elsewhere. Most likely in higher taxes for everyone. 5 I stated my objection to the outdoor smoking ban proposal. If I am walking by a park. If I am next to the entrance or the railings, walls, of the park. I might be considered as to smoking in the park. On Central Park West, & South benches go around the outer perimeter of the park. So if I stand next to an outer bench or sit on it. I could be ticketed for smoking in a park. If I am driving an open car through a park or on a park drive is that smoking in the park? 6) I addressed the issue that was raised on the increase of Teens smoking cigars. Those inexpensive cigars, “Blunts” El Producto, White Owl or Black & Mild, are cut open & filled with Pot or coke & Pot.. Their cost is usually a dollar or less. 7) Cigar smokers, who purchase quality cigars at licensed Tobacconists & Cigar Stores, spend an average of $5 to $10 a cigar. 8) What I failed to address was the raising of the age to purchase Tobacco products to 19. At 18 a citizen can enlist in the Armed Forces. They can make a conscious decision to serve their country. To protect all it’s laws & citizens. At any cost. Including the loss of their life. But the State of New York wants to say they can make a decision to serve their Country. But they can’t make a decision as to smoke, or purchase tobacco products. I would welcome to opportunity to help in forming any changes to the existing smoking laws. The law must protect us all, smokers, & non-smokers. As to the question to me regarding the cost of Health Care for smokers, Alcohol, Illegal Drugs, & foods also cause many health issues & costs that Tax Payers cover. Respectfully yours, Leonard Waller CC: Cecelia Pelkey, ESQ." —September 26, 2010 12:03 PM
"Gene, hopefully it doesn't get quite that crazy. And Billy, I feel your anger." —September 22, 2010 16:21 PM
"Just watch out that the air that I am poluting with my cuban cigar here in Europe doesn't kill someone in Central Park. How crazy can it get ?" —September 21, 2010 10:44 AM
"A total half-wit Go back to the sauce Bloomberg. We all know you are to afraid to ask the people how they feel about the issue. You are just for more government and no choice for the people whom you SERVE. Get ready for your escort out of office next election. " —September 20, 2010 15:27 PM
"The ability to comment about a story is one of the interesting new features about the new Join the conversation! " —September 20, 2010 11:10 AM