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New York betrays the land of the free

You may have read that New York city council has voted to ban smoking in the city’s parks, beaches and public squares.

Supporters of the new measures say it will help improve the health of New Yorkers and prevent non-smokers from having to breathe other people's tobacco smoke. The Telegraph has the story here: New York bans smoking in parks, beaches and public squares.

John Mallon, spokesman for Forest Eireann, has been doing some interviews on the subject and we have just released his response:

“It’s nonsense to suggest that non-smokers are at risk from people smoking in the open air.

“Banning smoking in parks and squares has nothing to do with the health of non-smokers. It’s designed to force people to quit smoking whatever the consequences for civil liberties.

“It is completely unreasonable to ban smoking in all public places, indoors and out.

“Tobacco is a legal product and a huge proportion of what people spend on tobacco goes to the government. If the government wants our money we have to be allowed to smoke somewhere, and not just at home.

“We encourage people to smoke responsibly, but fining people if they light up outside is a step too far.

“Unfortunately anti-smoking zealots won’t be happy until smoking is outlawed completely. If that happens people will still smoke but in an uncontrolled environment and the main beneficiaries will be criminal gangs and the manufacturers of illicit cigarettes.”

I think they have a name for that. Oh yes, Prohibition.

I'll comment further when I get a moment.

See also: NYC bans smoking ... in parks (Big Brother Watch)

PS. Rob Lyons, deputy editor of Spiked, has just commented on my Facebook page: "This is a country where you can be arrested for not crossing the road in a state-approved place or for having a drink when you're 20 years old. Bloomberg seems to be just tidying up a few loose ends."

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Reader Comments (13)

It's madness, complete madness. My favourite city in the world just got a whole lot less attractive.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 13:22 | Unregistered CommenterRose W

It does seem silly, but it isn't new. There are over 500 cities, towns or counties in the US that have a ban on smoking outdoors on some publicly owned property, including Chicago, LA, San Francisco and Salt Lake City. One of the reasons cited in NY was that beaches were being used as ashtrays, echoing what was said in Chicago: "the ban is intended to keep bacteria-bearing litter (i.e., cigarette butts) out of recreational waters so that swimming areas can remain open."

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 15:23 | Unregistered CommenterSimon (nsc)

@simon (nsc) - do they also then have a ban on eating and drinking in public? Why don't they have littering laws instead?

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 15:35 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Litter, I get - although as Joyce says, littering is a much bigger issue than cigarette butts. But anyone who seriously thinks SHS outside will damage their health needs their head examining.

Sure, they may not like the smell - so do as I do when I'm around someone eating a burger or fried chicken, or wearing a perfume I don't like - move.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 17:31 | Unregistered CommenterRose W

The solution to the "problem" of outdoor smoking and it always said to be litter is just a circuitous excuse to ban outdoor smoking. Bans cause outdoor litter, used to ban outdoor smoking, but it was the indoor bans and ban on outdoor ashtrays that caused the litter in the first place. Solution, from a classically liberal perspective, put plenty of outdoor smoking areas and ashtrays around where they can be found and used, for the smoking community to congregate. But the illiberal solution so the problem the illiberals created in the first place is to just extend the ban further. San Francisco commissioned an expensive "study" which was pre-ordained to find what it found, that cigarette litter comprises over half of all litter in the streets. Given the size of a tiny cigarette end compared to paper cups, napkins, wrappers and other litter that doesn't make it into the trash can, then that over 50% composition of cigarette ends must have had billions of them piled a foot deep in some areas, which common sense says can't be true. It's just a lie supporting another lie supporting another lie, with the original lie creating all the manufactured "problems" in the first place - and at the root of it, governments with no qualms about snatching liberties - and non-smokers too dumb to realize that their liberties are being snatched away with it. No wonder the world is in the state it is today. It started with, smoking bans.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 17:37 | Unregistered CommenterPenelope

A few people have commented that one can carry a loaded gun in a park and on a beach, but cannot smoke a cigarette.
I believe that a loaded gun is far more deadly.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 18:51 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Only yesterday, I had this great idea. If gays can call themselves 'the gay community' and muslims can call themselves 'the muslim community', why can't smokers call themselves 'THE SMOKING COMMUNITY'? Lo and behold, Penelope above referred to 'the smoking community'. This is the first time that I have seen the phrase used.

We should adopt this phrase at every opportunity.

And so, I think that The Smoking Community should stop bothering our heads about what the Americans' do. They are still under the control of the Eugenicists who introduced prohibition. The real battle is in Europe and especially in those countries which suffered under the jackboot.

By the way, if anyone is finding the post section difficult to read, one can easily increase the size of the pane by clicking 'view' and then 'zoom' - I only twigged it a few days ago!

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 19:15 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Hmmm. I have to confess (and this is spoken as a litter-hating individual who always carries a pocket ashtray around and uses it a lot) that if I lived in NY I'd make darned sure that I kept all my cigarette ends in a container of some sort and emptied it regularly on their darned squeaky-clean beaches when no-one was looking, rather than in my own bin (as I now do). Or maybe dropping a few into the public loos would be another idea. After all, what would they do about it? Ban smoking in the loos? Oh no, they can't - they've done that already!

Perhaps it's a good job I don't live there!

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 1:55 | Unregistered CommenterMisty


Since it is quite easy to forbid the leaving of litter on beaches (and, in all probability, such a law already exists), is it not clear that the point of the new law has nothing to do with litter at all? People are not banned from taking cans of pop or bags of peanuts on the beach, even though those cans and bags could easily result in litter.

It amazes me that the Mayor of New York accepts this mumbo jumbo. No matter how much he and his fellow politicians may be against the enjoyment of tobacco, he must surely see that the law is unenforceable. But then, we have to bear in mind that the Americans are terrified of stepping out of line - they have never been under the jackboot.

And this is why I believe that we should not bother our heads about what the Americans do. They are a nut case of their own making. Our real battle is in Europe, and especially in those countries which HAVE been under the jackboot.

We are trying our best to defend England against the jackboot (which we have never experienced). Why the Irish (and I mean the Irish Government) succumbed so easily is beyond my understanding.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, MASSIVE LIES have been told about the significance of the enjoyment of tobacco in connection with various health conditions. There is a huge paradox in the matter, and that is:

1. Smoking causes lung cancer.
2. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 4:20 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

I was chatting to Juliette Tworsey of Firebug, she lives in Los Angeles. She was saying that many people in LA unprompted think tobacco control has gone too far and smokers should be allowed their own smoking rooms. I do not think that Bloomberg has popular support for this ban and probably exposes him to be the intolerant, authoritarian he is.

I don't whether you saw Dick Puddlecote's blog but I subscribe to an anti smoking website and get a diet of propaganda but the odd gem comes along. Professor Simon Chapman an Australian is a very influential anti tobacco activist. He has a letter published on the BMJ's Tobacco Control website where he says the "poisons" in third hand tobacco smoke also occur is far greater quantities, "heating, cooking, candles, electrical appliances, and leaving windows and doors open to allow household exposure to motor transport fumes." He concludes by saying "But it will not by any means be the only source of many of the ingredients of "third hand smoke" that the unwitting or the fumophobic may believe are attributable only to smoking. The omission of this information in such reports risks harming the credibility of tobacco control.

He may kill THS in one fail swoop here. It is screen shot and saved for posterity. Funny my reply to the BMJ " disappoint me Chapman, I thought the anti tobacco lobby had enough rope to hang itself... has not been published yet.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 17:42 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Simon, I know you don't like comments on a thread about something completely different but I haven't been on this blog for some time so I may have missed it if there was a thread but you don't seem to have mentioned anything on the blog about the recent changes to the "smoking ban" in Spain which appear to be almost as draconian now as NY. I would like to read some comments from others in the British Smoking Community as we have now lost one of our final smoker friendly "outposts".

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 12:53 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia

Sylvia, the subject was discussed on the old blog here but I shall be writing about Spain again later this week because I am going to Madrid on Tuesday. Watch this space!

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 23:02 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Interesting, Simon and Silvia.

Me and the wife have been going to Majorca three or four times a year for a long time and staying at the same hotel. About 10 days ago, I emailed the the customer service chap, whom I know very well to ask if the new smoking ban would stop us smoking in our hotel room. His reply was very peculiar. He said that the hotel is (and has been for some time) non-smoking, including rooms, but the balconies are outside and therefore ok for smoking. However, he said that "Nothing has changed - same as 2010".
Now, it is a matter of fact that we have been taking with us a couple of steel ashtrays for use in our room. When go out, we put the ashtrays into a drawer (the point being, not to make waves unnecessarily). However, one occasionally forgets to do so. In that case, what we have found is that our ashtrays have been cleaned. Nothing has been said.
We can see the inference, can we not? The theory is 'no smoking' - the reality is 'out of sight, out of mind'. Thus we can see the inference of the customer service chap's statement, "Nothing has changed - same as 2010".The inference is that the new smoking ban has not had any effect on the hotel's thinking. One will not be thrown out of the hotel for smoking in one's room - carry on as usual. There was a nice, well appointed smoking room. I suspect that that will no longer exist, but it does not matter. The simple consequence of that is that I will not spend my money there.
This illustrates an important point. It is not for The Smoking Community to try to change the law - it is for the hotel groups to force the issue because they have the economic clout.

I am quite looking forward to going to Majorca in April. I don't really know what to expect. But I know that the Majorcan authorities have passed laws before about smoking which have been tongue in cheek. Bars exhibit the appropriate signs, but put out ashtrays.

We will see.

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 0:49 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

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