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No breathing space for New York’s smokers?

With all the bans on smoking in the workplace across Europe – and, as a consequence, smokers being barred from pubs and restaurants – you’d think that the clampdown on smokers had gone just about as far as it could go without an outright tobacco ban.

Apparently not, though. New York City looks as if it may be set to ban smoking in public almost entirely, even for people who are simply sitting on a park bench, lazing on a beach or even standing in or walking through a pedestrian plaza. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a law to exclude all these public places (and others, including boardwalks and marinas) from the few remaining areas that people are able to smoke in public, and he appears likely to win the vote in the City Council.

Officials have cited a study by Stanford University published in May 2007 which shows that a person sitting outdoors within a metre of a smoker may be exposed to second-hand smoke at similar levels to those found indoors. Well, perhaps. I’m sceptical – is this smoker blowing the smoke direct at the other person, perhaps?

For pity’s sake, if a non-smoker’s in a public place out of doors, how hard can it be to avoid someone who’s smoking – especially if they’re clearly already smoking before the non-smoker arrives? But under the proposed new law, a non-smoker would be within their rights to deliberately find a place to sit downwind of a smoker, summon a law enforcement official and insist that the smoker be served a “quality of life” ticket and fined ($50 is the penalty likely to be imposed for smoking violations).

Thus the reduction of smokers to pariah status continues. Makes almost as much a mockery of the USA’s boast to be the land of the free as their immigration barriers do.

Meanwhile the Greeks look set to ignore yet another attempt by their government to enforce legislation banning smoking in the workplace and in bars. Maybe I’ll go there on holiday next year.

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

3 Comments

Kay McMahon 25-09-2010, 10:06

And now people are getting their knickers in a twist because some high profile people in sports smoke.

“When footballer Wayne Rooney was spotted having a cigarette on several occasions during his break between the World Cup and the start of the Premier League season, there was outrage.”

Get the full story here:
BBC News: Athletes attacked for smoking habits

Personally I couldn’t care less what Wayne Rooney does or doesn’t, but if he wants a fag he has the right to do so, same as anyone else.

I wish the no-smoking mob would stop bleating every time they see someone having a puff.

Dave McMahon 27-09-2010, 13:33

I couldn’t care less either, from the point of view of his own health.

I can see that his club, its owners and its followers might be a bit annoyed. But then again he might benefit from the buzz.

No idea what to think as an England fan – given the petulant display he gave when leaving the pitch in South Africa, and his lacklustre performance on it, I’m inclined to think it doesn’t really make much difference whether he lights up or not. 😕

Online Invoices 09-10-2010, 09:50

Here in Tokyo Japan, they are seemingly unconcerned about the many smokers smoking wherever they want.

In restaurants, I have seldom come across a fully non-smoking restaurant, and to be honest it’s very rare that they even have a non smoking section. As a non smoker it’s really disgusting sitting trying to eat a nice meal with my family as people puff away whilst eating and drinking, I wish they would do something about it.

Hopefully change is coming though, they’ve now banned smoking from all train stations, and on the street in the area where I live, although contravening this rule is an optional fine if caught… Can’t see that being much of a deterrent but I guess its a small step in the right direction.

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