New York City this week banned smoking, well, everywhere.
Smoking is now banned at 1,700 city parks and beaches and in pedestrian plazas like Times Square. Needless to say, this was controversial, and the rhetoric ran hot and heavy over civil liberties, but in the end, the city council passed the ordinance by a vote of 36-12.
Good luck getting 7 million New Yorkers to stamp out their cigarettes in Central Park or Times Square, however. 😆
I know part of where smoking bans on beaches comes from is governments’ frustration with the littering. Whenever beach cleanups are done, the No. 1 item volunteers pick up is tons and tons of cigarette butts. Smokers have no one to blame but themselves, in my opinion, for beach smoking bans. If so many of them weren’t litterbugs, the bans wouldn’t have picked up so much steam.
The Indiana House passed a smoking ban, that was watered down somewhat to exclude bars. Indiana is the only state left north of the Mason-Dixon line that has NO smoking ban whatsoever (Pennsylvania has a weak restaurant ban). Indiana is a very Republican state and Republicans tend to loathe new regulations, but this did pass by a 68-31 vote, and smoking bans aren’t quite as partisan as they used to be. This bill, though it is a watered-down ban, has a real chance to pass this year.
Speaking of Republicans.
This poll, funded by the Robert Wood Foundation, found that 70 percent of people in Texas favour a comprehensive smoking ban, including 67 percent of self-identified Republicans. One thing that bodes well for a smoking ban in Texas is several large cities in that state — Houston, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi and El Paso — have comprehensive smoking bans, and gosh, the sky really hasn’t fallen. The Smokefree Texas Coalition is backing a statewide ban; this group includes several national and Texas health organizations, including Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation, which is based in Austin. There are two bills in the Texas Legislature, one sponsored by a Democrat and the other sponsored by a Republican.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Speaking of parks.
The centre of the tobacco world, Raleigh, North Carolina, headquarters to Altria (Philip Morris), just banned smoking in city parks. That’s gotta chap those Altria execs!