New York City Introduces Outdoor Smoking Ban
A new law went into effect on Monday in New York City which bans smoking in 43 square miles of beaches, boardwalks, public plazas and parks, including Herald square and Time square.
The law will be enforced with a $50 fine and is designed to protect people in New York from secondhand smoke often seen in elbow to elbow environments. The new law though already has a number of health experts questioning the threat posed by second hand smoke in open spaces and critics saying that the city is encroaching on civil liberties.
The new law was approved by the New York City Council in February but it was only actively enforced from Monday and the authorities are taking a public awareness approach to enforcing the new ruling rather than punitive law. Officers of the NYPD patrolled alongside employees of the neighbourhood business alliance.
David Moy of the Times Square Alliance said “I tell them, there’s a new law today — and they comply.” The city said that it plans to rely on the signs and social pressure rather than active enforcement of the law. This latest step is an extension of the government’s smoking ban introduced in 2002 forbidding smoking in restaurants, bars and other public indoor spaces.
A study carried out in 2009 for the Health Department revealed that 57% of non -smoking New Yorkers had a high level of nicotine byproduct in their bloodstream, suggesting a recent exposure to cigarette smoking, whereas the nationwide figure was much lower at 45%.