Mayor Bloomberg's Smoke Free Air Act goes into effect on Monday, and shockingly, people physically dependent on a substance that is more addictive than heroin have said that they will probably ignore the law that bans smoking in public parks, beaches, the concretewalk, and the Brooklyn Heights promenade. "It's so unfair because we're paying $12 to $13 a pack for cigarettes and now there's nowhere to smoke them…but I'll take the risk and still smoke in public," one man told the Brooklyn Paper. Another suggested: "Should we outlaw cabs, buses, and everything else that admits exhausts and fills our lungs with crap?" Hey, that's not a bad idea.
The act comes across as the last straw for smokers and the city's civil libertarians, and in a way portrays those who are sitting outside near those who are using a legal product as overly helpless: "you always have the choice to walk away from a smoker," one Downtown smoker points out. The New York Times recently ran a piece by a Boston University scientist and longtime smoking opponent who called the ban "pointless" and said that it "may actually increase exposure by creating smoke-filled areas near park entrances that cannot be avoided." Plus, the NYPD won't even enforce the ban: that will be left up to Parks Department employees.
Luckily for those who still choose to look really cool and smell terrible, state parks are exempted from the ban because of Freedom, so you'll still be able to light up at the East River State Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Nothing pairs better with that view of Manhattan than a cool, Carolina smoke.