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Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 14 February 2011

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tobacco legislation


Smoking ban approved for NYC parks and beaches

nycpic1

It seems as if smokers in the great state of New York cannot catch a break. First, they must put up with exorbitant taxes on tobacco products. As if that was not bad enough, there's more bad news. Earlier this month, New York's City Council voted 36 to 12 in favor of a bill that will prohibit smoking along 14 miles of city beaches and in 1,700 city parks. Pedestrian malls and plazas, such as the ones in the vicinity of Times Square, will also be included in the ban. Once Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs the bill, it will become effective 90 days later.

Mayor Bloomberg is a big proponent of the bill and stated that it will not only help keep the city's parks and beaches clean, but it will also make them more welcoming places for the general public since the air will be cleaner. Other proponents of the bill stated that its main purpose is not to generate revenue for the city, but to make public parks and beaches healthier environments for visitors by eliminating secondhand smoke.

Although secondhand smoke is sometimes thought to be more detrimental indoors, city health officials said that outdoor secondhand smoke is equally as bad. According to the New York Times, NYC's health department published a study in 2009 which found that 57 percent of the city's nonsmoking adults had elevated nicotine byproduct levels in their blood, compared to just 45 percent nationwide.

Once the ban becomes official, violators will be subject to a $50 fine. Enforcement will be carried out by the Department of Parks and Recreation. One has to wonder, what's up next for smokers in New York? A ban on smoking in your own home? Don't laugh. You never know.






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