It seems that they’ve gotten their way—in the five boroughs, at least.
My new National Review Online column takes a look at the recently implemented outdoor smoking ban in New York City, which was intended to address, in part, the so-called problem of outdoor secondhand smoke:
Outdoor-smoking-ban advocates cite studies that simply aren’t relevant. Reports of disease from long-term indoor exposure to secondhand smoke do not imply that short-term outdoor exposure will have the same effects. The city refers to studies that “suggest that sitting three feet away from a smoker outdoors can expose you to the same level of second-hand smoke as if you were sitting indoors.” That may be. But why would anyone bothered by smoke stay that close to a smoker in the park?
Another ill the ban is supposed to cure? Cigarette butt litter on the city’s beaches:
Yes, Mayor Bloomberg actually said, “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.”
… there are already laws on the books against littering. Why not punish those who litter, rather than those who smoke?
Meanwhile, some creative businesses are making the best of the ban:
But perhaps the most interesting development related to New York City’s outdoor-smoking ban is a new Reynolds American ad campaign alerting New Yorkers to an alternative to cigarettes — snus, or smokeless tobacco — that is not banned in parks . . . at least not yet. The campaign is brilliant because it capitalizes on the ban, encouraging smokers to migrate to a different product when they are in places where they are not allowed to smoke.
You can check out the full piece at National Review Online.