The State of New York was on the cutting edge several years ago when it became one of, if not the, first state to ban smoking from public places, i.e., bars and restaurants. Many are satisfied with the fact that they no longer have to worry about coming home, smelling like an ashtray, however, one starts to encroach on some very basic civil liberties when deciding what somebody can ingest, inhale, or imbibe. A basic human right is the freedom to eat, smoke and drink whatever it is a person chooses, even if it is harmful to that individual. The essence of free will and free choice is being able to freely make those decisions and not be forced by a centralized entity to restrict them. There will always be those who abuse substances, but America was never founded on utilitarian ideals where everything is for the greater good, or punished everyone due to a few.
New York is considering a ban on smoking outdoors now. The outdoors, as is my understanding, is not regulated and never has been controlled by a government entity, at least when it was your own backyard and not some natural wildlife preserve. New York has already banned indoor smoking and transfats from the state. They have one of the highest taxes on alcohol, and to be honest, some of the highest taxes in general nationwide. Back in early 2009, New York was also considering a tax on sodas and other sugary or “unhealthy” food items. Rather than be a state it seems like New York is becoming its own dictatorship.
Smokers in the “land of the free” are finding themselves increasingly less free to pursue their habit.
New York City officials are the latest to consider banning smoking in their parks and outside spaces – and where the US leads, the UK often follows.
Having driven smokers outside their workplaces and enclosed public places, city authorities are considering limiting the options for a quick puff.
The possibility of extending smoke-free legislation was outlined in a public health policy document (pdf). However the mayor, Michael Bloomberg – who has championed anti-smoking programmes but is up for re-election – appeared to qualify the extent of the restrictions. He wanted “to see if smoking in parks has a negative impact on people’s health”, the New York Times reported today, suggesting it “might not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres”.
Banning items didn’t work so well back in the 1920s so I’m not so sure this will pan out real well for New Yorkers or any other states that begins controlling peoples’ lives. We may even begin to see underground smoking parlors – who knows!?
On a side note, I must admit New York has at least one thing going for it, as opposed to Maryland, it is willing to freeze funding for the corrupt entity called ACORN and conduct a state-wide investigation!