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Smoking

Butting out: New York poised to ban smoking and walking at the same time

Under the bill smokers would still be free to light up on public streets, as long as they remained stationary while doing so

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 10:34pm

Smoking while walking would be banned in New York City if a new bill is passed into law.

Councilman Peter Koo is introducing the legislation on Wednesday, in what he says is an attempt to keep second-hand smoke away from pedestrians.

If the bill is passed into law people would be fined US$50 if they were caught walking and smoking on city streets.

Smoking, the act of placing a cigarette or other tobacco or plant-based product between the lips and inhaling through the mouth, thus drawing smoke into the lungs, is already banned in many public spaces in New York City.

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg, a passionate anti-smoking advocate, banned smoking in public parks and beaches in 2011. The city prohibited smoking in bars and restaurants in 2003.

“In a perfect world, every smoker would have the self-awareness to realise smoking while walking subjects everyone behind you to the fumes,” Koo told the New York Daily News.“It has happened to me many times – I’m walking behind someone who’s smoking, and I’m suffering for five or 10 minutes.

“I see mothers with their strollers walking behind people who smoke, and they’re exposing the baby to second-hand smoke.”

Under the bill smokers would still be free to light up on public streets, as long as they remained stationary while doing so.

In 2017 Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a number of anti-smoking measures into law in a bid to reduce “smoking prevalence”. The measures included banning the sale of cigarettes at pharmacies and raising the minimum price for all tobacco products.