Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

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industry updatessmoking bans
special eventstobacco legislation

cignews5.25 Cigar news is on today's agenda, and we have a lot to cover. The big topic of the day is New York City's intrusive outdoor smoking ban. While that's the highlight, we also have news on a couple of events in the industry, as well as a ban in Maryland that went into effect earlier this month.

NYC's excessive outdoor smoking ban in full effect


Back in February, we touched on yet another piece of smoking legislation concerning the great state of New York, and more specifically, New York City. While you may have thought that previous indoor smoking bans and ridiculously high tobacco taxes were bad, this latest move takes the cake.

New York's City Council voted 36 to 12 in favor of a bill that would ban smoking along 14 miles of New York City beaches and within 1,700 of its parks. In addition, smoking would be banned in pedestrian malls and plazas similar to the ones found near historic Times Square. Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed off on the bill, and it has now come to fruition as of this past Monday. As, expected, the feedback has not been too positive among the pro-smoking crowd, and rightfully so.

Before we jump into the reasons why the ban is ridiculous, let's review why it was supposedly instituted in the first place. Mayor Bloomberg remarked that the ban would make the city's parks and beaches more inviting to the Big Apple's citizens and its visitors. Not only would litter be reduced, but the air would also be cleaner since secondhand smoke would be eliminated. In addition to the alleged welcoming aura that would come as a result of the ban, it would also help bring in revenue to the city, with violations priced at $50 per instance.

Now let's take a look at those reasons for the ban, and see why they do not make much sense. Everyone knows that litter in the form of cigarette butts, etc. is unsightly. While that may be measurable, how about implementing more garbage cans or areas for disposal of such waste? It would be more cost-effective and less intrusive. As far as the secondhand smoke argument is concerned, just how measurable are the effects of it in an outside setting? If you are going to focus on the dangers of secondhand smoke, where do you stop? What about automobile emissions, and those from other entities that aren't exactly pure? Are they going to be banned?

How about the revenue argument? Is $50 per ticket really a cash cow? It could be if you write up citations all day, but is the Department of Parks and Recreation really up to the task? Do people really want to pay for any extra enforcement for this so-called critical issue? Now that the law is in effect, some officials have said that they do not plan to put a huge emphasis on enforcement. Rather, they are hoping that posted signs and social pressure from peers will be enough to prevent smoking. Are they kidding? Watch social pressure turn into street fights and confrontations.

Finally, what happened to our civil liberties? I thought this was the “Land of the Free.” With more and more laws like this one in New York City, it sure doesn't feel like it.


0 # RE: Cigar News for May 2011 - Second EditionBill Oetjen 2012-01-30 21:06
I'm from NYC and this ban is just too much.

My adopted town, Burlington, VT, just narrowly dodged a bullet a couple of weeks ago. The Reactionary Goody-Goody city council passed a ban completely outlawing smoking in the greater downtown area. Bob Kiss, the outgoing mayor vetoed it. The Burlington Occupy movement was planning a major smoke-in for the day the ban was to go into effect. I threatened to empty out my 400+ humidor and pass the treats out to anyone who participated. We had guys who'd bought cartons of cigs to pass out...

Ya gotta love a revolution that smokes.

Remember this: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Yours in Solidarity!

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