Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Should NYC Ban Smoking in Parks?

New York City health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, has proposed a ban on smoking in all city parks as part of “Take Care New York 2012”, a plan to improve the health of NYC residents over the next three years. Bryant Park is one of over 1,700 parks and beaches that would be affected by such a policy.

The proposal is sure to spark heated debates between those on either side of the issue, and raises questions of enforcement, should the ban be implemented. The New York Times article, New York Eyes ‘No Smoking’ Outdoors, Too, quotes Mayor Bloomberg, who stated on Monday, “It may not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres, but there may be areas within parks where restricting smoking can protect health.” Such areas could include playgrounds and outdoor spaces created specifically for children.

As managers of the park, our goal is to maintain a welcoming space for anyone and everyone to enjoy. However, we urge park patrons to be mindful and courteous of those around them when engaging in activities that could negatively impact others, such as smoking or playing loud music.

We’d like to know what you think about the issue. Should smoking be prohibited in New York City parks?

Postscript: Bryant Park’s Reading Room is a designated smoke free area, which is noted on table top signs and enforced by the Reading Room attendant.

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