Congratulations to the City of New York for taking this aggressive measure to limit exposure to second-hand smoke. I hope more jurisdictions will follow suit. As a lung transplant recipient it bothers me to no end when I'm attending an out-door event and someone beside me lights-up and exposes me to their smoke. Here's a reminder of the hazards of breathing second-hand smoke:
Health effects of second-hand smoke
The hazardous health effects of exposure to second-hand smoke are now well-documented and established in various independent research studies and numerous international reports. The body of scientific evidence is overwhelming: there is no doubt within the international scientific community that second-hand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma and middle ear infections in children and various other respiratory illnesses. Second-hand smoke exposure is also causally associated with stroke, low birthweight, spontaneous abortion, negative effects on the development of cognition and behaviour, exacerbation of cystic fibrosis and cervical cancer.
New York City's parks, beaches and even Times Square will be off-limits to smokers under one of the nation's toughest anti-cigarette laws passed Wednesday by the city council.
"This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a beach not littered with cigarette butts," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after the 36-12 vote.
The smoking ban will cover 1,700 parks and 14 miles of public beaches plus boardwalks, marinas and pedestrian plazas like the one in the heart of Times Square. The ban goes into effect 90 days after Bloomberg signs the bill; the mayor has 20 days to do that.
States and cities from Maine to California have banned smoking in public parks and beaches, but New York is pursuing one of the widest-reaching urban bans. Smoking is also prohibited in Los Angeles city parks and in Chicago parks with playgrounds.
Supporters of the New York ban said exposure to second-hand smoke poses health risks.
"The statistics don't lie: second-hand smoke kills," Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. "With this bill, all New Yorkers can now breathe easier and breathe cleaner air."
A law banning smoking in New York City bars and restaurants went into effect in 2003.
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz voted for the latest ban despite her ambivalence about earlier anti-smoking measures that forced her outdoors in bad weather when she was a smoker.
"My grandson used to tell me, 'Grandma, you're going to die,"' Koslowitz, now a nonsmoking legislator, said in announcing her vote.
Outside on Wednesday, the wet, raw winter weather didn't seem to bother Cal Johnson as he strolled through the park in front of city hall, puffing on a cigarette.
"I guess I'll have to stop smoking in this park," said the 68-year-old retired Wall Street analyst when he was told of the anti-smoking vote.
However, "in principle, I support this ban on smoking — even though I'm a smoker," said Johnson, adding he'll smoke on a nearby street where he lives once the new law kicks in.
The expanded smoking ban will give the city's parks department the power to slap violators with quality-of-life summonses, which are tickets for minor offences like begging or public urination that typically carry fines of under $100.
However, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the bill's prime sponsor, said the ban isn't intended to be a legally "punitive program." She said the city expects the law will be primarily self-enforced, with residents warning anyone who lights a cigarette in a park or on a beach that it's illegal. Police won't be responsible for enforcing it, she said.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario at Trillium Gift of Life Network NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today!
For other Canadian provinces click here
For other Canadian provinces click here
In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You