The places where people can smoke might become are becoming more and more limited by the minute.
New York City has been making a headway in curbing second-hand smoking. On Wednesday, Mayor Michale Bloomberg announced that there are plans in the work to expand smoking bans outdoors because of the impact of second hand smoking.
“The science is clear: prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke – whether you’re indoors or out – hurts your health. Today, we’re doing something about it,” the mayor said in a statement .
In fact, second hand smoke in the United States has actually been citied as a ‘striking’ issue. According to a report released in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of U.S. children between ages 3 and 11 show signs in their blood of exposure to secondhand smoke. Children that have been in the midst of smokers are more prone to bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, and decreased lung function. The report also showed that 40 percent of non-smoking adults have cotinine in their own blood, a chemical that indicates exposure to second hand smoke.
“When people visit parks and beaches, they expect to get some fresh air, not inhale deadly carcinogens,” Bloomberg said. “Studies have shown that outdoor tobacco smoke levels can be as high as secondhand smoke levels indoors and there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
Nearly 90 million Americans are exposed to second-hand smoke in the United States and Bloomberg’s imitative for New York makes the city amongst the first regions to push for bans on outdoor smoking. California attempted to pass a similar measure that would have banned smoking in state beaches and parks, but the bill failed after it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an avid cigar smoker himself. In the past, government’s wrestled with the idea of smoker’s sections in restaurants and indoor spaces, which have been cited as risky places for second-hand smoking. Each individual has their own right to choose whether or not they want to smoke—but what happens when there is no place left for smokers to go? Can health risks be a reason to push out a certain group of people from public spaces like parks and beaches?