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« MP tables motion on smoking in pubs and clubs | Main | How the media works »

New York to ban smoking in parks and pedestrian areas

I reported last year that New York City's health commissioner Dr Thomas Farley wanted to ban smoking in the city's parks and beaches.

This week the Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg announced proposals to ban smoking in parks, beaches and some "car-free" pedestrian areas of New York such as Times Square. According to the New York Post:

Smokers will not be able to light up when hanging out along pedestrian walkways across the five boroughs, including in car-free areas of Times Square, as part of a broad expansion of the city’s smoking ban to parks, beaches and boardwalks, officials announced today.

The proposed ban means no smoking if you're sitting on the traffic-free Broadway plaza at the Crossroads of the World and Herald Square, in all parts of Central Park or along the famous Coney Island boardwalk.

“The science is clear: prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke – whether you’re indoors or out – hurts your health," Mayor Bloomberg said in announcing the widespread ban. "Today, we’re doing something about it."

This is a pretty dispiriting statement for anyone to make, let alone a bright guy like Bloomberg. Forget for a moment the arguments about smoking indoors. When does anyone ever experience "prolonged exposure" to environmental tobacco smoke outside?

Seriously, I am trying very hard to think of a single scenario in which this could happen and I can't think of one that doesn't involve bondage.

I have only visited New York once - five years ago in the heat and humidity of July. There's a lot to like about the place but this sort of control freakery, bordering on fanaticism, doesn't paint the city in a good light.

While I was there I did all the usual tourist things - Empire State Building, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Spamalot. The Immigration Museum on Ellis Island in New York Harbor was my favourite attraction because it provides such a fascinating insight into the 20 million immigrants who travelled to the New World in often appalling conditions. (Some were too ill to be accepted and were sent back.)

Millions were trying to escape poverty, starvation or political oppression in Europe and elsewhere. I wouldn't pretend that smoking bans are in the same league, but prohibiting smoking in the open air amid spurious claims about the effects of exposure to ETS outdoors is hardly cause for celebration in a so-called free country.

Full story HERE.

See also: An Englishman in New York

Reader Comments (16)

"The science is clear." Now, where have I heard THAT one before? If someone had suggested during the Roosevelt era that lighting up in Central Park could be even remotely injurious to anyone else's health, he'd have been laughed at. And if he'd persisted, he would have been put into an asylum.

Today, it's the Sane and the Truthful who need to watch what they say. Especially if they work for the State. Now if THAT isn't 'fascism', kindly tell me what is?

September 17, 2010 at 6:33 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Have they now moved on from lying about the results of research to lying about research having been done at all?

September 17, 2010 at 8:03 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Bloomberg's toast, no way he'll be re elected but it's for another reason,know what I mean ?
This certainly will not help ,the ostricisation of the cities smokers in such a heavy handed manner will make the more apathetic smokers wake up and fight back.
Ridiculous ,the traffic in New York pumps millions of more toxins into the air.
He obviously thinks the anti smoking lobby have the ayes of the electorate there.
Well i'm sure that's what they told him. probably via a rigged poll.

September 17, 2010 at 10:02 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Boris was approached to ban smoking at bus stops and said a plain no, so we do have some hope.

September 17, 2010 at 10:34 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

If Boris thinks it's another excuse to fine and control us he'll be 100% in favour of a ban as will most of the Stasi like councils throughout the whole country. Still, if people still keep voting for these control freaks who think your earnings belong to them and they know best about how to run every aspect of your life then that's what they will get. If you are a smoker and you don't want to be persecuted any more none of the main three parties share your views and desires. They are all corrupt tax hungry control freaks.

It's a different story for them of course and no doubt when Obama visits New York the ban will be relaxed as it was in the Excel centre here. Same for our corrupt politicians who may smoke in the 5 smoking rooms in Parliament. It is a mystery to me why the British public keeps voting for more of the same.

September 17, 2010 at 10:52 | Unregistered CommenterJames Trent

Our darkess days are ahead of us.

It’s amazing isn’t it how a virus can spread around the world embracing all in its path. What we have now in modern times is one of the most virulent of all…the self-righteousness virus, strong, dark, menacing, buttressed by its own self importance and engulfing all common sense …chewing it up and spewing it out in disgust. You must understand that the self-righteous virus does not countenance live and let live, and freedom of choice…these are concepts alien in nature and must be destroyed at all costs.

Imagine re-winding to about 1970 in California, I’m sitting in a bar enjoying a pint and a pipe deep in thought, and just a few short days earlier an anti-smoking zealot had crawled meaningfully out of his block of wood, dead wood, rotten wood filled with hate and intolerance and his diseased mind knows only vengeance. He looks my way and plots with guile and spiteful cunning to set in train a merciless and brutal regime against the likes of me that would last for many decades.

But he is not alone…others have been spawned from pods across the globe, infected with the same deadly virus, there’re in positions of power and influence, and they walk amongst us smiling, laughing, shaking our hands, holding our babies, but all the time knowing the world is being shackled by their monstrous grip that tightens and becomes more insidious day by day, by day…until a time when once there had been decency and common sense amongst fellow men and women, there now only exists an empty husk filled with the foul stench of self-righteous intolerance…and what is more…yes, what is more dear friends – is that the worse is yet to come.

September 17, 2010 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterDavidR

Yes David R there is worse to come.
Does this sound familiar to you it's basically one of the powerfull elite calling for "death panels" to decide on whether the elderly should recieve health care for the last three months or so ,not to mention sterilisation vaccines for the third world.

Remember that nutcase Jane-Deville-Almond ?
Looks like denial of healthcare to smokers is probably on it's way too.
Eugenics and junk science definately appear to be related.
The ritcheous semm to have a huge penchant for evil too.

September 17, 2010 at 12:59 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

The most baffling aspect of global smoking bans for me is the underlying intention of those in power to prolong our lives when they simply can't afford to. We really do have a ticking time-bomb in the increasing imbalance between the elderly and those of tax-paying age. I'm convinced that state-sponsored murder of the elderly will come, dressed up as assisted suicide and euthanasia both of which will welcomed by a populace which no longer holds life to be sacrosanct.

September 17, 2010 at 14:29 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

I liked this article from the NY Times. Seems to me a risky thing to do when many of the people in America carry weapons. Not all New Yorkers seem prepared to roll over on this one.

September 17, 2010 at 15:17 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

I agree Joyce, it is totally illogical - unless, as I have mentioned before it is a double bluff! After all, elderly people who have smoked all their lives and then give up tend to die off very soon after, thereby saving the government their pension!

As it stands, if things get worse here, as is quite possible, seeing as we always seem to follow in the USA's footsteps - we are obviously incapable of thinking or doing anything for ourselves these days (meaning the government, of course), the I don't think I would want to live long enough to qualify for euthanasia, I would have to kill myself first!

Life is bordering on being not worth living now, any more of this rubbish and lemmings that keep following it and it really will not be worth living!

September 17, 2010 at 18:56 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Is there any organisation stateside that will fight this?

September 17, 2010 at 19:43 | Unregistered CommenterRose

This type of ban is not about health - it's about revenge and spite

September 17, 2010 at 20:14 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Joyce -

Re: "the underlying intention of those in power to prolong our lives when they simply can't afford to."

As I've suggested elsewhere, I don't think that IS the real intention: the mindset of the Master is not necessarily to be derived from that of the Lackey (dupe, misguided idealist, career opportunist, social crusader, political patsy - whatever form he takes).

Whoever the REAL Oligarchs are, I'm convinced that OUR wellbeing is the LAST thing on their agenda. So much so, in fact, that if smoking WERE the destructive force that their henchmen like to pretend they believe it is, they'd be pushing the Divine Weed on every street corner.

Instead of setting it up as the Osama bin Laden of human health and happiness - thus underscoring their 'caring' credentials (thereby countering all those ridiculous 'theories' about their long-term objectives among the awakening few).

The War on Tobacco is just another of their Phoney Wars (one of their specialities) -designed to mobilise, to divide, and to distract. Certainly NOT to heal.

Their thinking may SEEM a trifle elliptical - but it's not illogical. Nothing they ever do is that, I fear.

They're a nasty bunch - about as nasty as 'nasty' can get. It may be somewhat blurred at the moment, but the world they're planning for US is slowly coming into focus. And it ain't going to be nice. Not for most of us. Unless.......................

September 17, 2010 at 22:32 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

What an intriguing post, Martin!

If, though, no-one knows who the real 'masters' are, then why the supposition that they exist?

If they do exist the patsies, be they the WHO, EU or individual countries' governments still have to be sold the idea that smoking bans are a good thing. I'm interested in why they do accept this. Have individual governments simply signed up to the WHO's agreement and feel that they can't renege; are they chasing votes by caving into the prejudice of the mob; why are they so afraid of the health lobby? Why is the WHO so keen on bans when it ought to have more than enough to be getting on with without straying outside its remit? Of all bodies, it must have reputable scientists who realise all the smoking research is disreputable or inconclusive. Is it horse-trading with Pharma? Does it all really just boil down to Pharma supplying drugs at discount prices to WHO-sponsored programmes in return for enhancement of the NRT market?

Perhaps there are no puppeteers, just individuals/groups who are adept at co-operating with each other in order to further their own agendas.

September 18, 2010 at 11:23 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

It's all about the smoking cessation gravy train ,jobs for Junk scientists ,jobs for Junk administrators.
And the minute any politician or lournalist turns round and questions it ,they then wheel out "cancer boy".

September 18, 2010 at 17:04 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Joyce –

(Your permission, Simon?)

Yes, I quite take your point - but I trust you'll allow my Poetic Soul a little latitude now and again!

At least we can name ONE of the Masters - the obscenely powerful David Rockefeller (and family) - whom Genadi Zyuganov credited with the now infamous quote that:

"...the world is prepared to march towards a world government. A supranational government of the intellectual elite and world bankers is preferable to the right of peoples to self-determination."

Well, thanks for the ‘consultation’, David!

One small example: we have the late Aaron Russo's testimony that Nick Rockefeller - whilst in his cups, one presumes - predicted an orchestrated 'event' that would result in the invasion of Venezuala, Iraq , and Afghanistan, and a frenzied search for a man that they'd never find (well - two out of three ain't bad). If true – just imagine what that kind of 'power' REALLY means!

The Chemistry of Power tends to compel a concentration at some sort of 'centre', and only a conscious act of the will, and the appropriate mechanisms, can keep it diffused.

In the Angloshpere, both Congress and Parliament now manifestly lack the former, whilst busily demolishing the latter. And the People either fails to notice, or simply doesn't care anyway.

Events unfolding before our eyes clearly point to some sort of orchestration at the highest level, and it would be tedious (and, I hope, pointless) to enumerate them. Suffice it to say that the various motivations of the underlings (some even contradictory) can ALL be manipulated towards a single purpose they may in fact know nothing of. Macchiavelli would be working for the Ford Foundation today !

It would, I suggest, be entirely feasible to suggest that Rockefeller is but ONE of a like-minded group of people, some more camera-shy than Dave and Nick (what a lovely coincidence !), with a global blueprint AND the global reach to achieve it. There is a mindset at work here which is both corporatist and (by extension) WHOLLY anti-democratic. And True Liberalism is its anathema.

The unquestioned (surely ?) erosion of national sovereignty and citizen liberties (of which the anti-smoking movement is but one tiny example) are either the result of Historical Accident or Concerted Policy. Where are the POWERFUL ‘individuals/groups’ OPPOSING such things?

They simply don’t exist.

A growing mountain of documentaion (current and historical) and now openly stated policies (eg the UN's Agenda 21) all clearly point to the Concerted Policy option, and rather reinforce Roosevelt's observation that NOTHING that happens in politics is ‘accidental’.

Consider me a Reformed Sceptic in this regard.

September 18, 2010 at 23:04 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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