No Tickets on First Day of Outdoor Smoking Ban

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A foggy drizzle did more to snuff out smoking in city parks today than the new ban.

    "No tickets today," Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said Monday.

    Anyone expecting a full-court enforcement blitz to get smokers to scram from 1,700 city parks and 14 miles of beaches will be disappointed.

    Outdoor Smoking Ban: 24 Hours, 0 Tickets

    [NY] Outdoor Smoking Ban: 24 Hours, 0 Tickets
    Anyone expecting a full-court enforcement blitz to get smokers to scram from 1,700 city parks and 14 miles of beaches will be disappointed. New York City's health department, which helped craft the new law, explained that it's up to fellow New Yorkers to turn in smokers puffing away on nearby park benches. Andrew Siff reports.

    New York City's health department, which helped craft the new law, explained that it's up to fellow New Yorkers to turn in smokers puffing away on nearby park benches.

    The idea is, if the violator continues to smoke, a complainant can call 311, and then, a Parks Department enforcement officer could respond to the scene.

    Of course, that could take awhile.

    "When a ticket gets written, a ticket gets written," said LaVorgna. "I think you can tell from our preference for self enforcement, you are not going to see a crackdown."

    NBC New York asked commenters on Facebook whether they would approach someone and attempt citizen enforcement of the law.

    Susan Marie said it's a little risky to try and tell strangers what to do in New York City.

    "No thanks, I still have things to live for," she said.

    Jim Todd agreed.

    "LOL, oh yeah, in New York, you're going to tell a smoker on the street to put it out," he said. "Um, yeah, good luck with that!"

    So why did the city impose a ban without putting enforcement behind it?

    Health officials insist it's all about raising awareness about secondhand smoke.

    The health commissioner told NBC New York that many New Yorkers who don't smoke have elevated levels of a nicotine compound in their blood.

    Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said similar bans, after initial skepticism, met with success in Los Angeles and Chicago.

    Assuming New York does start issuing tickets, anyone caught smoking in a city park could face a $50 fine.