Outdoor smoking banned in New York City
In a pretty darn fascist move, and despite the petition I posted about a few months ago, the New York City council has approved a city-wide ban of smoking in outdoor public spaces, eight years after the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants went into effect. We’re not just talking about doorways here—this ban will apply to wide open spaces too, like beaches, public squares, and the city’s 1700 parks.
The vote is scheduled to become law in about 90 days, right as the weather starts warming up. Robert Jackson, a non-smoking Manhattan Democrat, criticized the measure, calling it “totalitarian.”
… And it is. Central Park, one of the areas you won’t be able to smoke in anymore, is 843 acres. 843 acres, and not exactly crowded acres either. The exposure to second-hand smoke in public squares and street corners is already so fleeting that its effects are probably negligible, and the city council is telling us that 843 acres isn’t enough space to have a smoke without endangering someone’s health? Even in a city as crowded as NYC, that’s a lot of space. The massive pollution already present in the city does not seem to worry anyone though. The hypocrisy here is blatant and astounding.
The motion passed in the city council with fairly overwhelming support in a vote of 36 to 12. The new law will make New York City one of the least smoker-friendly parts of the U.S. Considering the largely liberal population of the city, this is a disturbingly conservative move. Nor will it necessarily stop here. Smokers are advised to keep an eye on NYC for further developments.