Despite reactions from New Yorkers that the government is going overboard in meddling with their personal lives, May 23 will mark the day when smoking in outdoor areas, like beaches, parks, pedestrian plazas, and other public areas, will be put to a stop.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put his signature on the legislation after the city council held a voting session regarding the urgent matter. The final outcome of the session indicated that 36 are for the implementation of the new outdoor smoking guidelines while only 21 are against it.
The city already has an existing restriction on smoking in restaurants and bars and this new legislation will extend its campaign against smoking. It also joins Chicago and San Francisco in protecting non-smoking individuals exposed to secondhand smoke in public places.
The New York City’s parks department authorities will enforce the ban, including a warning for violators before a $50 fine can be issued. The police department is not tasked to implement the ban, though.
As expected, there are citizens who are vehemently against the ban. New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment director Audrey Silk says that the ban is a “tyranny rationalized by a lie.” She was quoted in saying “second hand smoke harming anybody outside is a total and absolute lie.” Still, New York City will push through with the new ordinance starting on the set date.
Aside from smoking, other health-related initiatives undergone by Mayor Bloomberg include a ban on trans fats in restaurant food and for calorie contents be displayed on their menus.