Posts Tagged ‘parks and recreation’

Coffee and Cigarettes

September 27th, 2010 by Claudia Acevdeo

Gone are those days when you could sit at a bar and have a beer and a cigarette. Now there’s no lighting up after a big, satisfying dinner without leaving the premises. No puffing away your midday stress at a cafe. No early morning nicotine high at the diner. Mayor Bloomberg made sure to snatch those moments from you back in 2002, when he began his anti-tobacco campaign in the city of New York. It took some adjusting to, but everyone dealt with it.

What does the future of smoking look like? Eight years have passed and it looks like parks and beaches are the next setting for the war on cigarettes.

Bloomberg, an ex-smoker, wants to lower the percentage of smokers in the city to 12 percent by 2012, and forbidding people to open fire in public places is a step toward attaining this goal. His tactics have worked in the past. After the 2002 smoking ban for restaurants and bars, the percentage of New Yorkers who smoked went from 21.5 percent to 16.9 percent in five years.

While the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke are known to everyone who buys a pack, hardcore puffers are set on their ways and, for the most part, offended by the impending ban. It is hard enough for them to find a place outside an office building without a no-smoking sign. Ashtrays and smoking poles are now fewer and farther between. People feel forced to take their breaks out on the street, and much to the bemusement and chagrin of passersby.

What was once a common pastime and social facilitator is now a cause for shame and civil strife. But one of the serious setbacks for smokers is the pricing hike that took place this past June. A pack of cigarettes in Midtown Manhattan can cost you a whopping $14.50. That’s $174.00 a month if you buy three packs a week. That’s almost the equivalent of two unlimited MetroCards. You could also buy a one-way ticket to Puerto Rico with that kind of money. It’s enough to make you want to quit. Many people already want to.

It looks like there will be healthier people roaming our streets over the next couple of years, which means that there will be happier people too. Is this still the East Coast?

courtesy of The New York Times