Embattled smokers reacted bitterly to the news of increased restrictions on their activity yesterday. In the wake of Mayor Bloomberg's announcement that, pending City Council approval, the city would ban smoking in parks, beaches, pedestrian plazas and boardwalks, smokers took to the streets to defiantly light up. Here are some of the most indignant reactions:
- "It's like a dictatorship," Scott Sottile, a bus operator smoking in Brooklyn's Columbus Park, tells the Wall Street Journal. "It's not like we're talking about smoking inside somewhere; this is outside. It's just amazing to me. I already stopped going to the bars and restaurants because half the pleasure for me was lighting up a cigarette when I finished my meal."
- "People have a right to smoke, and it's another product that you buy and should be able to use, so it's a little fascist by Bloomberg again," college student Karlyn Daigle tells the Post.
- "It's stupid," yoga teacher and ex-smoker Lula Trainor tells the Times. "It’s outside, it’s not like there’s no ventilation. You can always walk away from a smoker, but they should have the choice to smoke."
- "It's extreme," Benyamin Ratliff, a comedy-club promoter, tells the Journal. "This is something I'm addicted to—it's not something I can just stop doing that easily."
- "Tell them to build smokers' parks then!" David Aladashvili, a Juilliard piano student, tells the Daily News. "Artists smoke. Don't even dream about us quitting. We will smoke more."
However the Post may have found one the saddest smokers of all, a waiter at the Ballfields Cafe in Central Park. Patrick Hambrick usually goes behind the cafe on the two smoke breaks permitted during his shift, but once the new ban goes into effect, he'll have to switch to nicotine gum. "It would take me 10 minutes to walk to Central Park West and 65th Street to smoke," Hambrick tells the tabloid. "I'd need 20 minutes to smoke. I think it's kind of unconstitutional to ban smoking in a restaurant. I think it's even further across the line to ban it in public parks."
Then there are traitorous smokers like Bobby Fayad, whom we approached in the public plaza outside our DUMBO office. "They want to make this area no smoking?" Fayad asked. "I think its great. I think it's a great idea. You know why? 'Cause it’s a lot of people who smoke they throw the cigarette on the floor. So it’s not worth it. I mean, I walk here and I see that, and I always try to pick up as much as I can but it's always thrown everywhere around. At least if there was an ashtray around here, that would be great. No one has an ashtray to ash. They have the right and also the city has a right. That's all. I agree."