Public Health

The Candid Paternalism Underlying New York's Outdoor Smoking Ban

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New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who wants to expand the city's smoking ban to cover parks and beaches, makes no bones about the fact that the goal is to save smokers from themselves. According to The New York Times, "Dr. Farley said the ban—which officials said may require the approval of the City Council, but could possibly be done through administrative rule-making by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation—was part of a broader strategy to further curb smoking rates, which have fallen in recent years." But others are still pretending that smoking bans are aimed at protecting innocent bystanders:

The mayor, who has championed antismoking programs but also is running for re-election, issued a statement that did not disavow the proposal but appeared to qualify it, saying he wanted "to see if smoking in parks has a negative impact on people's health."

He added, "It may not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres, but there may be areas within parks where restricting smoking can protect health."…

"The issues with secondhand smoke are very real, and the majority of the population today doesn't want to be breathing in tobacco smoke, whether indoors or outdoors," said Dr. David A. Kessler, who was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997. "While undoubtedly some will think this is going too far, 10 years from now, we'll look back and ask how could it have been otherwise."

Cheryl G. Healton, president and chief executive of the American Legacy Foundation, the smoking prevention group that was created as part of the 1998 master settlement between the tobacco industry and 46 state governments, also applauded the proposal.

"There is no redeeming value in smoking at beaches or parks," she said in a statement. "Anyone who has sat behind someone smoking a stogie can tell you that. The health risks are real. Secondhand smoke is deadly."

If "secondhand smoke is deadly," how can "anyone who has sat behind someone smoking a stogie" tell us anything? Wouldn't he be dead? How did Healton herself manage to survive this harrowing experience?

The pretense that dose doesn't matter—that occasional whiffs of tobacco smoke in the open air are tantamount to a pack-a-day habit—nicely complements the pretense that smoking bans—whether on public or private property, inside our outside—are needed to protect the rights of nonsmokers. I think I prefer Farley's candid paternalism.

More on smoking bans here.

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76 responses to “The Candid Paternalism Underlying New York's Outdoor Smoking Ban

  1. We just want mandatory non-smoking sections in restaurants and bars! Is that so wrong?

  2. who will enforce this? why make laws no one will enforce?

  3. Anyone who has sat behind someone smoking a stogie can tell you that. The health risks are real.

    The health risks *are* real; I find threats of physical violence to be an effective way of preventing people from smoking cigars around me.

  4. It always bugs me when I hear, “secondhand smoke kills.” IIRC, the study to which most people are referring had a very specific methodology. Of course no one seems to read the methodologies of studies but only the conclusion. Anyway, the study specifically looked at people that spent extensive time in a closed environment with a smoker. It specifically referenced people that worked with a smoker where they shared an office and were exposed to smoke for eight hours a day. The other possibility was living with a smoker. How this then gets extrapolated to, “I just got a whiff of your cigarette while walking down the street. You are a murderer!” is beyond me.

  5. “The issues with secondhand smoke are very real”

    Kessler is right. The issues are real.
    It’s the science that’s bogus.

  6. As a percentage of their respective races, blacks smoke more than whites.

    Why does New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley hate black people?

  7. I find threats of physical violence to be an effective way of preventing people from smoking cigars around me

    Are you serious, P Brooks? How have you managed not to get your ass kicked?

  8. Sometimes a cigar *is* just a cigar.

    But not very often.

  9. I’ve never understood why so many people seem to be more bothered by cigar smoke than cigarette smoke. Cigars smell good.

  10. He hangs out with anorexic midgets.

  11. I blame the CIA for getting me hooked.

  12. The thing is that these assholes are extrapolating an already dubious secondhand smoke study (the one that is the foundation of all smoking bans), which was based on indoor secondhand smoke, to outdoor secondhand smoke. It is utterly mendacious and no one even challenges them on it.

  13. Serious question: How long until kissing by smokers is banned?

  14. That’s on tap for next week.

  15. If “secondhand smoke is deadly,” how can “anyone who has sat behind someone smoking a stogie” tell us anything? Wouldn’t he be dead?

    This is pretty weak reasoning. One can judge something dangerous/deadly/harmful without actually having been injured or killed by the activity. I’ve never been eaten by a shark but, I’m going to tell you that covering yourself in chum and jumping into a feeding frenzy is “deadly”.

    I also love the argument that it’s never been conclusively proven that small amounts of a known harmful substance are dangerous, therefore it must be safe.

    Finally, rather than looking at secondhand smoke as a health issue, perhaps we should look at it as a nuisance issue. I’m not allowed to make an obscene amount of noise (unless on a motorcycle) because the right of the many to quiet outweighs my right to make a racket. Perhaps, the right of the many not to have to smell and smell of tobacco outweighs your right to get a nicotine fix wherever and whenever you want.

  16. The worst/best (depending on your point of view) is that people who support this seem to ignore (or maybe support?) the fact that the same health commissioners have come out and said that they also want, in the future, to get people eating healthier and exercising more. I wonder how they’re going to try and do that…

  17. Stretchy,

    That would be a great argument to try to make at the local city council meeting. But people a little more politically astute than you probably recognized that it was a loser. Consider that you are not permitted to play extremely loud punk music outside someone’s window at 3 am. but you ARE allowed to have that same music playing inside a club. Because, you know, people can choose whether or not to go to the club. Or work at the club.

    Generally, I think it would be a tough sell to pass a law stating that something that a quarter of the adult population does constitutes a terrible nuisance. This is why they had to come up with the SHS kills nonsense.

    On the other hand, I do think you have a point. In my mind, it actually makes far mores sense to ban smoking outide than inside. Ecveryone goes outside. You cvan choose whether to enter the bar or not.

    At the same time, i do think that

  18. “Perhaps, the right of the many not to have to smell and smell of tobacco outweighs your right to get a nicotine fix wherever and whenever you want.”

    You leave your house, you get exposed to things you don’t like. Isn’t the near complete ban on smoking in indoor public places and businesses enough already? And have you ever been to New York? There are a whole lot of much worse smells (and probably worse for you) than tobacco smoke around.

  19. Frankly, I’ve always wondered how smoking and exposure to said smoke went from a manners issue to an issue of law. Once upon a time, it was considered to be rude to light up without asking ones companions or others in the area who might be affected/offended by said smoking. I know when I light up, I take note of the people around me. I wouldn’t even consider smoking in someone else’s home without their permission. When I’m outside, I take special pains to stand downwind of non-smokers.

    I realize that the change probable came about due to said “scientific” studies showing that extended exposure to second hand smoke can be harmful. So can extended exposure to lots and lots of other chemicals, but they’re not banned out of hand.

  20. Adele Jeune, 47, a home health aide from East New York, Brooklyn, does not smoke and had no objection to a ban. “I love clean air,” said Ms. Jeune, who was sitting on a bench in Union Square. “And if I go somewhere like this, I want to smell clean air.”

    Right, when I’m surrounded by taxis, buses, litter, and sewage, I want the illusion of cleanliness that only legislative fiat can give me. Make my world look safer, dammit!

  21. I’ve never understood why so many people seem to be more bothered by cigar smoke than cigarette smoke. Cigars smell good.

    Good cigarettes do, too. Or they did until the “fireproof” mandate kicked in a few months ago. Now they all reek, taste like Marlboros that fell in a swamp and air-dried, and they’re more likely to start fires.

  22. Using the logic about the right not to inhale someone else’s tobacco smoke, as a vegan, don’t I have the right to demand that I should not have to inhale smoke from a barbecue grill, since breathing in fumes from charred meat is the same as inhaling it? Also, what does this teach our children about our animal friends, if we celebrate the public slaughter and grilling of their carcasses? And the pollutants released by these grills are terrible for human health and the environment too. Thus, I ask that NYC ban all grilling of meat in public parks and beaches to protect our health and set a compassionate example for our children.

    (I am being very sarcastic here, but I will bet money that somewhere, probably in the SF Bay Area, in the next 5 years will pass this exact law, and that other “progressive” cities will follow.)

  23. This weekend I could not believe the frequency of people who insisted on sitting near me, while I was smoking, and wafting away the smoke with their menus. All the while there were plenty of empty seats plenay far enough away from me!

    P Brooks, were you in Virginia on Saturday?

  24. SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE…….and blooming idiots nazi tactics wont go for the voters this next go around……unless he stuffs the ballot box.

    A cancer epidemiologist, who conducted the largest secondhand smoke study ever done, the UCLA Study, completed “too late” to be included Surgeon General Carmona’s 2006 report, wrote a letter, at the request of Keep St. Louis Free, to the St. Louis County Council, that ended with these two paragraphs:”I should say that, personally, I feel strongly that non-smokers should not have to be exposed to cigarette smoke. While the available evidence does not suggest that average exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is an important cause of heart disease or lung cancer in people who do not smoke, cigarette smoke is irritating, can trigger allergic reactions in some people, and can exacerbate asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions. Yet, since the available evidence suggests that the effects of environmental tobacco smoke, particularly for coronary heart disease, are considerably smaller than generally believed, lawmakers may therefore have greater latitude than generally believed to consider the segregation of smokers and nonsmokers and the use of air filtration as adequate and responsible ways to address the health concerns of ETS in workplaces such as bars and restaurants. If it is possible, through segregation of smokers and nonsmokers and the use of air filtration, to reduce all components of environmental tobacco smoke in establishments where smoking is permitted to the level of the air in non-smoking establishments, there is reason to believe that any risk would be undetectable.”

    THE AIR ACCORDING TO OSHA

    Though repetition has little to do with “the truth,” we’re repeatedly told that there’s “no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

    OSHA begs to differ.

    OSHA has established PELs (Permissible Exposure Levels) for all the measurable chemicals, including the 40 alleged carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. PELs are levels of exposure for an 8-hour workday from which, according to OSHA, no harm will result.

    Of course the idea of “thousands of chemicals” can itself sound spooky. Perhaps it would help to note that coffee contains over 1000 chemicals, 19 of which are known to be rat carcinogens.
    -“Rodent Carcinogens: Setting Priorities” Gold Et Al., Science, 258: 261-65 (1992)

    There. Feel better?

    As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that:

    “Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.”
    -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997

    Indeed it would.

    Independent health researchers have done the chemistry and the math to prove how very very rare that would be.

    As you’re about to see in a moment.

    In 1999, comments were solicited by the government from an independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke.

    Using EPA figures on the emissions per cigarette of everything measurable in secondhand smoke, they compared them to OSHA’s PELs.

    The following excerpt and chart are directly from their report and their Washington testimony:

    CALCULATING THE NON-EXISTENT RISKS OF ETS

    “We have taken the substances for which measurements have actually been obtained–very few, of course, because it’s difficult to even find these chemicals in diffuse and diluted ETS.

    “We posit a sealed, unventilated enclosure that is 20 feet square with a 9 foot ceiling clearance.

    “Taking the figures for ETS yields per cigarette directly from the EPA, we calculated the number of cigarettes that would be required to reach the lowest published “danger” threshold for each of these substances. The results are actually quite amusing. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a situation where these threshold limits could be realized.

    “Our chart (Table 1) illustrates each of these substances, but let me report some notable examples.

    “For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes would be required to reach the lowest published “danger” threshold.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes would be required.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    “At the lower end of the scale– in the case of Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up simultaneously in our little room to reach the threshold at which they might begin to pose a danger.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes are required. Perhaps we could post a notice limiting this 20-foot square room to 300 rather tightly-packed people smoking no more than 62 packs per hour?

    “Of course the moment we introduce real world factors to the room — a door, an open window or two, or a healthy level of mechanical air exchange (remember, the room we’ve been talking about is sealed) achieving these levels becomes even more implausible.

    “It becomes increasingly clear to us that ETS is a political, rather than scientific, scapegoat.”

    Chart (Table 1)

    -“Toxic Toxicology” Littlewood & Fennel

    Coming at OSHA from quite a different angle is litigator (and how!) John Banzhaf, founder and president of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

    Banzhaf is on record as wanting to remove healthy children from intact homes if one of their family smokes. He also favors national smoking bans both indoors and out throughout America, and has litigation kits for sale on how to get your landlord to evict your smoking neighbors.

    Banzhaf originally wanted OSHA to ban smoking in all American workplaces.

    It’s not even that OSHA wasn’t happy to play along; it’s just that–darn it — they couldn’t find the real-world science to make it credible.

    So Banzhaf sued them. Suing federal agencies to get them to do what you want is, alas, a new trick in the political deck of cards. But OSHA, at least apparently, hung tough.

    In response to Banzhaf’s law suit they said the best they could do would be to set some official standards for permissible levels of smoking in the workplace.

    Scaring Banzhaf, and Glantz and the rest of them to death.

    Permissible levels? No, no. That would mean that OSHA, officially, said that smoking was permitted. That in fact, there were levels (hard to exceed, as we hope we’ve already shown) that were generally safe.

    This so frightened Banzhaf that he dropped the case. Here are excerpts from his press release:

    “ASH has agreed to dismiss its lawsuit against OSHA…to avoid serious harm to the non-smokers rights movement from adverse action OSHA had threatened to take if forced by the suit to do it….developing some hypothetical [ASH’s characterization] measurement of smoke pollution that might be a better remedy than prohibiting smoking….[T]his could seriously hurt efforts to pass non-smokers’ rights legislation at the state and local level…

    Another major threat was that, if the agency were forced by ASH’s suit to promulgate a rule regulating workplace smoking, [it] would be likely to pass a weak one…. This weak rule in turn could preempt future and possibly even existing non-smokers rights laws– a risk no one was willing to take.

    As a result of ASH’s dismissal of the suit, OSHA will now withdraw its rule-making proceedings but will do so without using any of the damaging [to Anti activists] language they had threatened to include.”
    -ASH Nixes OSHA Suit To Prevent Harm To Movement

    Looking on the bright side, Banzhaf concludes:

    “We might now be even more successful in persuading states and localities to ban smoking on their own, once they no longer have OSHA rule-making to hide behind.”

    Once again, the Anti-Smoking Movement reveals that it’s true motive is basically Prohibition (stopping smokers from smoking; making them “social outcasts”) –not “safe air.”

    And the attitude seems to be, as Stanton Glantz says, if the science doesn’t “help” you, don’t do the science.

  25. New York sucks. And this is one issue that the deep South is pretty good on. I remember smoking inside the Greensboro, NC airport years after most other airports had gone smoke free.

  26. I was unclear whether smoking wasn’t already prohibited in parks. Last summer I smoked at a picnic in Central Park – I thought I was already an outlaw. Darn.

    New York sucks.

    Sometimes, but not enough for me to leave. Yet.

    Oh, and another thing that sucks is former smokers. And drinkers. They are the worst prohibitionists of all. That’s why I’m eagerly awaiting recent photographic of Obama puffing away.

  27. “””It’s the science that’s bogus.”””

    I don’t think any science supports the cliam. Surgeon General Carmona’s 2006 report didn’t make the claim, he misrepresented the report with his own claim, and his misrepresentation has been resonant.

    “””New York sucks. And this is one issue that the deep South is pretty good on.”””

    Does Arkansas count? Mike Huckabee signed a law making it illegal to smoke in your own car if children are in it years ago.

  28. photographic evidence, that is

  29. Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer-official
    By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent

    The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: “There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.”

    And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University, the American Cancer Society, a Minnesota Environmental Health Department, and various researchers whose testing and report was also peer reviewed and published in the esteemed British Medical Journal……prove that secondhand smoke is 2.6 – 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations:

  30. Wednesday, March 12, 2008
    British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke “health hazard” claims are greatly exaggerated

    The BMJ published report can be found here:
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7398/1057

    And concludes:

    The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.

    What makes this study more significant than any other is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers….. meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality.

    This report was of course silenced in the media; however in light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws.

    Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study which concluded “..secondhand smoking doesn’t cause cancer…” found online here.

    Excerpt:

    Passive smoking doesn’t cause cancer-official
    By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent

    The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: “There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.”

    And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University, the American Cancer Society, a Minnesota Environmental Health Department, and various researchers whose testing and report was also peer reviewed and published in the esteemed British Medical Journal……prove that secondhand smoke is 2.6 – 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations:

  31. ” I remember smoking inside the Greensboro, NC airport years after most other airports had gone smoke free.”
    —————————————
    Unfortunately, NC will have a total ban on smoking, including in bars, as of January 2010. Unthinkable in the land of BBQ, NASCAR, and Winston. Must be all the yankees who have relocated there because their employers moved to what was a more business friendly state, until now.

    BTW, I think you can still smoke at Dulles airport – they have separate rooms where you can’t even smell them from right outside.

  32. Harleydude, stop that! Word walls = bad.

  33. There go more individual rights again. They’re being buried one by one.

    Outdoor smoking isn’t hurting anyone. If you don’t like the smell, move away from it.

  34. I’m willing to go along with a smoking ban if they also ban patchouli.

  35. Harpoon, I take it that you don’t give one wit about individual rights then. Patchouli, how pathetic, move away from it. It’s outside.

  36. What kills me is bullshit like this: “There is no redeeming value in smoking at beaches or parks.”

    Right. And since there is not value in it for me, there is clearly no redeeming value in children playing at beaches or parks. Or in family barbecues at beaches and parks. Or in, you know, this woman continuing to live.

  37. Let’s ban cars then, unless i am wrong and carbon monoxide exhaust isn’t as dangerous as cigarette smoke….

  38. Let’s ban cars then, unless i am wrong and carbon monoxide exhaust isn’t as dangerous as cigarette smoke….

    The role of Al Gore is being played by bryan today . . .

  39. Bryan, I think that they are already working on the issue with the cars. No one will be able to get far in one of them if they could afford it.

    Think about the whole smoking thing and the mention of patchouli. When they are done with the smokers. That fragrance thing may just pop up again. Then we can take this further to say that with all the Green BS going on and my state for one would like to regulate water and tax it. Yup, tax what comes out of the well. So, do you smell something oddious? Then what? Everyone will be wishing for the cigarette smoke again to cover that up. But it’ll be too late. Give then the ability to remove your rights as individuals and they will go as far as they want to. Ofcourse for the common good.

  40. why not ban motor vehicles? the exhaust from motor vehicles is much worse than cigarette smoke and they put out a lot more smoke. you don’t hear the leftists and neocons arguing for that because this isn’t a health issue they want to systematically destroy the tobacco industry and demonize smokers the way junkies are demonized.

  41. Hacha Cha, They have been teaching the kiddies in school for some time now that smoking is as good as being a drug user. I got to listen to one of them tell their parent that analogy. It was real innerestin.

  42. We just want mandatory non-smoking sections in restaurants and bars! Is that so wrong?

    Good point, TYO. Has anyone compiled a list of published, official statements from prohibitionist organizations where they claimed they had such limited goals?

  43. We just want mandatory non-smoking sections in restaurants and bars!

    Hasn’t it gone just a bit further than that now? I know of full bans in restaurants and bars and that’s been for a few years now.

  44. “The role of Al Gore is being played by bryan today . . .”

    Yeah, Al Gore with his crazy theories that carbon monoxide is toxic.

    Shit like this really makes me want to start smoking again.

  45. “They have been teaching the kiddies in school for some time now that smoking is as good as being a drug user”

    Well, to be fair, smoking is being a drug user. But I doubt that they also make the point that using aspirin, ritalin or tea is also being a drug user.

  46. DX | September 15, 2009, 12:37pm | #
    New York sucks. And this is one issue that the deep South is pretty good on. I remember smoking inside the Greensboro, NC airport years after most other airports had gone smoke free.

    Try that now.

    May 12, 2009
    N.C. smoking ban OK’d; Miss. cigarette tax jumps

    Lawmakers in North Carolina, the nation’s top tobacco grower, have voted to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. Gov. Beverly Purdue, a Democrat and the state’s first female governor, said she will sign the bill into law.

    She called it “an important and historic day for North Carolina,” The News & Observer in Raleigh reports.

    Smoking bans suck. NYC is what it is, but the people who say the most negative things about it have never actually lived here. You included, most likely.

    What *really* sucks? The NY Times comments sections. Those people LOVE the idea of a ban in open spaces. Can’t get enough Nanny over there.

    She said it here =
    Joette | September 15, 2009, 11:54am | #
    Frankly, I’ve always wondered how smoking and exposure to said smoke went from a manners issue to an issue of law.

    Right on. That is at least the problem as I frame it with people.

    Too many times I hear people ask me, “is [x thing] *allowed* here?” (e.g. taking pictures in the subway, dancing in bars, eating food on trains, etc)

    Basically, there is an assumption that everything is forbidden unless expressly permitted. This bothers me.

    I was shooting some video the other day in a new park down on the east river waterfront, and a woman came up and asked me if I knew whether it was OK to be doing that … I didnt and didnt care. She fretted, and said, “well you should probably ask someone”.

    I watched her as she had anxiety on my behalf. I gave her 2 minutes before I asked her (in as polite terms as possible) to please find something else to do.

    Stretchy | September 15, 2009, 11:42am | #

    “The right to not smell tobacco” is not a right. However you do always have the right to fuck off somewhere else.

  47. Yeah, Al Gore with his crazy theories that carbon monoxide is toxic.

    You co not get CO from modern cars. You get nice, friendly, CO2. The same stuff that makes the bubbles in your soda.

  48. “Well, to be fair, smoking is being a drug user. But I doubt that they also make the point that using aspirin, ritalin or tea is also being a drug user.”

    To be fair, to a point you are correct. But not in the way that it’s being taught to the kids. However, I would like to remove ritalin from that list. That’s a whole other ball game entirely.

  49. “Lawmakers in North Carolina, the nation’s top tobacco grower, have voted to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. Gov. Beverly Purdue, a Democrat and the state’s first female governor, said she will sign the bill into law.

    She called it “an important and historic day for North Carolina,” The News & Observer in Raleigh reports.”

    That’s disgusting.

    The park incident you mentioned, I thought you handled that quite well. Don’t think I’d have been that nice about it.

    Your post confirms again: individual rights going right down the drain.

  50. “Once upon a time, it was considered to be rude to light up without asking ones companions or others in the area who might be affected/offended by said smoking.”

    How true!

    Less than two weeks ago I was sitting on the bus stop bench when a woman of about 6o sits down and then asks, “Would it bother you if I smoked?” In truth, it would, but I told he no and added that it’s so rare to be asked that these days. When my bus came I got up and thanked her again for being so considerate.

  51. @ harleyrider1978

    Don’t ever do that again.

  52. BTW, is there anything more pathetic than Harley riders?

  53. Most parks already have laws on the books about how people will interact with one another when they use parks. People who enjoy a beer now and then are welcome to use parks, just not when they are drinking. People with pets are welcome to use parks, as long as dogs are on leash and any mess is picked up by the owner. Likewise, people who enjoy golf are welcome to use public parks but cannot tee up and practice shooting golf balls. People who like camping are welcome to use parks, but can’t pitch a tent and create a campfire just anywhere.

    People who smoke are part of a consumer group, just like any other group of people who share a common characteristic such as people who own pets or boats or who drink soda. There is no constitutional “right” to smoke and the behavior is one that goes beyond individual choice when the health and equal ability to enjoy public parks is concerned. I strongly support moving forward with adopting a comprehensive tobacco-free parks ordinance as we have in some communities in Snohomish County, Washington.

  54. Finally, rather than looking at secondhand smoke as a health issue, perhaps we should look at it as a nuisance issue. I’m not allowed to make an obscene amount of noise (unless on a motorcycle) because the right of the many to quiet outweighs my right to make a racket. Perhaps, the right of the many not to have to smell and smell of tobacco outweighs your right to get a nicotine fix wherever and whenever you want.

    You’re right to not smell smoke ends at your feet taking your whiny ass to where smoking is not going on.

  55. BTW, is there anything more pathetic than Harley riders?

    Adult bicyclists wearing dorky helmets?

  56. Annie Peterson | September 15, 2009, 2:18pm | #
    I strongly support moving forward with adopting a comprehensive tobacco-free parks ordinance as we have in some communities in Snohomish County, Washington.

    Annie,

    For one, you live in the *boondocks*. In NY, we dont have lots of ‘non-park’ wide open spaces where we can exercise our consumption preferences… we dont have *yards*. We dont have any public space at all that isnt regulated! Basically, city parks and beaches are the only places you can sit down and enjoy some relative peace and quiet… There are no alternative spaces available in many cases.

    Your comparing golfing in Yosemite to smoking in Gramercy park (2 blocks square?) is meaningless. They have nothing to do with one another. You are strongly for this sort of thing, and yet you live thousands of miles from here? Do you not think that maybe people who live here might have more credibility on this particular issue? Or no = what you like in WA state can apply everywhere…?

    Oh, and in regards to the ‘right’ to smoke? Pursuit of Happiness doesnt apply? There sure as hell didnt ban it in the constitution. Remember the whole limited government thing? You seem to suggest any and all ‘consumer’ behavior can be regulated into non existence if such is the will of the majority, and why not?

  57. There is no constitutional “right” to smoke

    Ninth Amendment:
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Tenth Amendment:
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  58. Annie, I strongly disagree with you. Think about just how long it will take before you end up with a ban an individual right that you aren’t in favor of. That day will come if they have it their way with this one. So by all means, go ahead and support this all you like but one day it will hit home with you and you will have no say in the matter.

  59. “I strongly support moving forward with adopting a comprehensive tobacco-free parks ordinance…”

    Looks like Annie pasted in an old letter to the editor.

  60. Well good for Annie! I still don’t agree with her. I would prefer to retain all that is left of my Freedom and that is dwindling every day now!

  61. There is no constitutional “right” to smoke and the behavior is one that goes beyond individual choice when the health and equal ability to enjoy public parks is concerned.

    :::looking through Constitution…Amendment 1…no…Amendment 2….no…Anendment 3…:::

    Nope, no right to parks in here either. There is little thingy about “freedom of association” however. You might want to look it up.

    Maybe the best thing for all involved is to privatize the parks. That way, if you want a non-smoking park, then you can have one without being a demonstrable pain in the ass and annoying those who don’t share your stilted and rigid views.

  62. “Would it bother you if I smoked?”

    No, mind if I fart?

  63. “There is no constitutional “right” to smoke and the behavior is one that goes beyond individual choice when the health and equal ability to enjoy public parks is concerned”

    ——————————————————-

    There is no constitutional right to health or to “enjoy” parks either. Were that the case, I would ban rabid antismokers from parks, since they take away from my enjoyment of it.
    BTW Annie, I bet it is A-OK to smoke medical marijuana in one of your tobacco-free parks out there in the Progressive People’s Republic.

  64. Non-smokers shall be banned from my private park. Same with people not carrying a concealed firearm, unless they are a minor and have a note from their parent or guardian.

  65. “Adult bicyclists wearing dorky helmets?”

    No. Try again.

  66. If I can’t smoke why can’t they kick the stinking, reeking homeless guys off the subway?

  67. Clothing will be banned from my park!*

    *subject to bmi and ht/wt proportion matrix.

    Yo … STFU Ceasar BLOOMBERG!

  68. So how many smokers are needed to equal 1 city cab? Bus? Garbage Truck? I suspect eliminating 1 cab would more then offset the pollution and health risk created by all the smokers in Manhattan. No, I don’t smoke, but I do think.

  69. Mr Roberts,
    You’re close, a cab probably not. But, a single diesel truck … you betcha.
    http://burningissues.org/car-www/medical_effects/comp-emmis-part-sources.htm

    It takes 17 cigs to equal the pollution of running a modern gas car for an hour.
    A car w/ no catalytic converter is 88 cigs.
    It takes a whopping 900-1750 cigs/hr to equal the pollution of a single diesel truck (or piece of construction equipment or generator or marine or..)
    A fireplace? That’s 750-1475/hr cigs worth.
    How bout a charcoal grill, those are just as bad.
    Just to get that flame broiled flavor so desired by aficionados these gross polluters pump ~60 PACKS, 6 WHOLE CARTONS worth soot into the atmosphere.
    That’s not even considering the lighter fluid.

  70. The world has far more important issues to address, smoking is the least of your worries but it is an easy ‘rule’ to implement. Few years ago (before the indoor ban) I lit up at the airport in Boston and was almost jumped on I truly thought the ‘officials’ had thought I pulled a gun out not a ciggarette, in fact a gun would have been more acceptable. The UK always follow America (hence we are now in a terrible mess with financial crisis and war) thanks America, the land of the Free well not free but…….

  71. BTW, HARLEY,:
    I’ve cautioned you on this before: if you’re going to make annoying wallpaper out of a COPYRIGHTED article [“The Air According to OSHA”), you damn well ought to give credit or a link to it-and preferably instead of scrawling it on the wall:

    http://www.nycclash.com/CaseAgainstBans/Introduction.html

    As for the Constitution, I guess we’re forgetting the 67th Amendment: the right to never (ever!) be annoyed.

  72. i like water melon

  73. Right, when I’m surrounded by taxis, buses, litter, and sewage, I want the illusion of cleanliness that only legislative fiat can give me. Make my world look safer, dammit!

    Is that any more bizarre than the very same (in all probability) person demanding “greenspace” instead of moving to where the “greenspace” already is? Rather than accepting an urban area for what it is, suddenly every tiny strip of land next to a sidewalk and every rooftop must become a pean to Gaia.

  74. perhaps we should instigate a ban on politicians and lawyers, seeing how they are FAR more dangerous to America and ALL future generations! 😎

  75. This lady sounds like she has a few screws loose if she truly believes in her own web of lies. This clearly is an exaggeration by one of those intolerant liberals with an ax to grind. It also seems like she is wanting a donation for her lazy organization. Put me down as a non-smoker and an indepedent thinker. You may also want to defeat Bloomberg because,in my opinion,he is a blooming idiot who has no clue as to what the freedoms of this country are all about.

  76. This lady sounds like she has a few screws loose if she truly believes in her own web of lies. This clearly is an exaggeration by one of those intolerant liberals with an ax to grind. It also seems like she is wanting a donation for her lazy organization. Put me down as a non-smoker and an indepedent thinker. You may also want to defeat Bloomberg because,in my opinion,he is a blooming idiot who has no clue as to what the freedoms of this country are all about.

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