Smoking Ban Stirs Controversy Amongst New Yorkers

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Community, Health, Multimedia, New York City

Smoking Ban from Viviana Gonzalez on Vimeo.

As the Smoking Ban has been signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and will go into effect on May 23rd, smokers must scatter and find new places to calm their nerves. With smoking banned in parks, marinas and beaches, cessation programs organized by the New York City Department of Health and the American Lung Association are aimed to help people cope with the side effects and consequences of withdrawal.

But for some people who work at these soon-to-be restricted areas, bad habits aren’t bound to be broken. Troy Pauley, of Brooklyn, is a smoker and works outdoors at the Wellman Grill at Central Park. “I work in the park for 10 hours a day. So where am I supposed to smoke?” Pauley said. “I’m going to smoke. If I have to hide and stoop down and smoke, I’m going to smoke.”

According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoke has about 70 chemicals that are linked to cancer and secondhand smoke can cause asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and increased instances of colds and ear infections.

Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the prime sponsor of the smoking ban bill, said that the purpose was to improve the public health of New Yorkers by eliminating secondhand smoke in recreational areas. “The whole notion of asthma in children is something that drove us, I think, and drove a lot of my colleagues more importantly, to support this bill.”

Those caught smoking in prohibited areas are subject to a fine of $50 per violation.

Smokers looking to kick their habit can call 311 or 1-866-NY-QUITS and the NYDOH and the ALA offer smokers quitting tips online, access to nicotine gum and patches, medication and cessation programs.


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