New York has finally passed the smoking ban they have been proposing the past couple months. The law, which Mayor Bloomberg signed in February, will finally go into effect on Monday, May 30, 2011. New York City will now impose a city wide outdoor smoking ban. Smokers will not be able to smoke in any of the city’s 1,700 parks, their public beaches, or even in places such as Times Square.
Officials are hoping the ban limits the risks of secondhand smoke on bystanders trying to enjoy the fresh air. According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke accounts for almost 50,000 deaths every year. Secondhand smoke can also cause lung cancer, respiratory problems, and asthma.
Officials also hope the ban will help cut down on litter. According to the Mayor’s office, cigarette butts account for 75% of the litter found on the city’s beaches. The ban will be enforced by the park’s department. Those caught violating the law will be fined $50.
According to a CNN report, smokers are not taking this ban lightly. A group known as Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment will be staging a “smoke in the park” event on one of the city’s beaches. C.L.A.S.H. wishes to let it be known that, “this law will be paid the respect it deserves”.
New York City imposed its first ban, the Smoke Free Air Act, in 1988. The city now joins 507 other municipalities in the country that impose the same outdoor smoking ban in parks as well as 105 that impose the ban on beaches. They added to that ban in 2002 when smoking was deemed prohibited in restaurants and bars.
While smokers are up in arms about this law, the electronic cigarette companies will be sure to benefit. Although they are not specifically marketed as a smoking cessation product, thousands have been able to kick the traditional cigarette habit by switching to the electronic devices. E cigs do not contain the thousands of carcinogens traditional cigarettes contain. The chemical free alternative also emits a vapor instead of smoke which allows smokers to use the devices in public areas.