Sunday, 6 February 2011

New York Times urges caution on prohibition and Whoopi says no

Changes to the law that will put parks, beaches and plazas off limits for smokers have brought a welcome editorial from the New York Times, which concludes:
Meanwhile, there is talk that the mayor and the City Council want even more, like banning smoking near doors of office buildings and apartments. They need to take a deep breath and remember that we tried prohibition 90 years ago. They called it a noble experiment. It turned into a civic disaster.
 Note the use of the word 'smokers':
Already smokers are forced to huddle outside, these days perched on the city’s gray, leftover snowdrifts. Starting in early summer, after the mayor signs the bill into law, they will not be able to stray onto the 14 miles of city beaches or into the city’s 1,700 parks, not even Central Park or windswept Battery Park. Instead of smoking on Brighton Beach, what does a smoker do — take a boat out 12 nautical miles into international waters?
No pretence about 'this is not about smokers, just about smoking'. The real-life implication is that blanket no-smoking policies marginalise smokers.

The paper welcomes the early stages of anti-smoking activities, but finds the outdoor ban has gone too far. But the anti-tobacco lobby has a puritanical streak. The words 'there is no safe level of secondary smoke' should have warned us.

Whoopi Goldberg is another notable critic of the New York plan.

1 comment:

no deid yet said...

How good to see a newspaper, specially The N Y Times, show signs of recognising this anti smoker ('note the word 'smoker'') legislation for what it is.

Some of us warned that our own indoor smoking ban was only the tip of a persecution iceberg. Moderate voices seem to be recognising this truth. We must hope it's not too late.