One day after city health commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley revealed his intention to expand the city's smoking ban to parks and beaches, something terrifying happened: We woke up this morning to find ourselves in complete agreement with conservative NY Post demagogue Andrea Peyser. Obviously, this means that we were wrong in supporting the ban and ought to start smoking Lucky Strikes at once. Peyser opines:
Visiting the beach or the park should no longer require an oxygen mask. If one wants to smoke, there are places to freely enjoy that activity. Like China... The idea won't sit well with the pathologically addicted few who continue to force innocent citizens to unwillingly breathe their poisons. But this is a scenario whose time has come... Few things are more aggravating and disgusting than being forced to swallow fumes emitted by a mother, father, grandpa or stalker whose bond with nicotine prevents them from stepping outside the city's precious, toddler-filled recreation areas in order to slowly kill themselves.
Others, like smoker-on-the-street Ronald Carey, 63, tell the Daily News, "It's really ridiculous. I'm not going to support smoking, but things have gotten out of hand. What's next?" Hm, let's see, drunken gunslinging? Anyway, it's unclear that Mayor Bloomberg is even 100% behind the proposal, which was buried within the big public health initiative announced yesterday. Last night the Mayor's office released a statement explaining that Hizzoner wants "to see if smoking in parks has a negative impact on people’s health. It may not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres, but there may be areas within parks where restricting smoking can protect health."
Officials say the ban may require the approval of the City Council, but could possibly be implemented through administrative rule-making by the Parks Department. Council Speaker Christine Quinn tells the Times, "Conceptually, that’s an idea I’m very, very interested in and open to," but "fines should be modest and not intended primarily to punish." Similar smoking bans in public parks and beaches have been enacted in California and Chicago. What do you think?