The dangers of second-hand smoke include an increased chance of developing serious conditions such as lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and strokes. Mayor Bloomberg summed the matter up in the following words: “The science is clear: prolonged exposure to second hand smoke – whether you’re indoors or out – hurts your health. Today, we’re doing something about it,”
The Pros and Cons of Banning Outdoor Smoking
According to the Mail Online, the proposed fine for smoking in certain outdoor areas of New York City could be as high as US$250. This should act as a deterrent to most. Officials are hoping the ban will give the city cleaner air and offer a safer atmosphere for visitors and locals to enjoy the parks and beaches. New York City attracts tens of millions of visitors each year and many of these are children. Smoke-free parks and beaches could be an extra attraction to parents and non-smokers.
The General Feeling of the People
Blogs and opinion polls reflect both sides of the argument. On the negative side, many smokers feel the ban is a further imposition on their freedom. They feel they have been edged out of buildings, restaurants and other public gathering places. Some have felt that exhaust emissions are a far greater problem and that cigarette smoke dissipates very quickly out in the open.
Most of those who don’t smoke have welcomed the proposal. The feeling is that being anywhere near cigarette smoke is off-putting because of the smell, and the health risks are of even greater concern. The smoking ban would also cut back on the amount of cigarette stubs that currently litter the beaches.
Smoking will always be a contentious issue but with smokers being a lower percentage than non-smokers, they are probably fighting a losing battle. The New York Times reported that the ban on indoor smoking that took effect in 2003, has since gained widespread acceptance. It has also been credited with helping drive down the percentage of adults in the city who smoke from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 15.8 in 2008.
Debbie Roome – Associated Content
The Mail Online
Crains New York Business.com
The New York Times