Tobacco farmers are ignoring chances

When Roger Bock began trading business in the 1990s, the tobacco trade in Harare, the floors was quiet places, except for the melodious sound of the auctioneer.

Several white farmers, each sale of hundreds of bales of tobacco, arrived in sports cars, check the best hotels in the city, waiting for their big checks should be reduced. During the auction season this year, quite a different scene unfolded under the cavernous roof Paula Bock tobacco auction. Every day, hundreds of farmers arrived in vans and on the back of pickup trucks, many with wives and children in tow. They camped in the open field nearby and rush into the cacophony of sex to sell their crops. This place was lively and crowded; two women gave birth at the auction floor.

The most obvious difference, however, was the color of their faces: one of them was black. “Before, you see only white person here,” said Rudo Boca, Boca’s daughter, who now runs the family. “Now for all. This is a wonderful spectacle.” The government of Zimbabwe began the seizure of white farms in 2000, less than 2000 farmers growing tobacco, the most profitable crop in the country, and most of them white. The success of these small farmers has led some experts to reconsider the legacy of forced Zimbabwe’s land redistribution, even if they condemn its violence and destruction. But amid all this pain, tens of thousands of people have received small plots of land reform farms, and in recent years, many of these new farmers overcome early in the fight for fare very well.

With no other choice but to work the land, small farmers have made a go of it that the production does not coincide with the white farmers whose land they have, but they are far from the disaster many had expected, some analysts and academics. “We can not apologize for the way it was done,” said Ian Scoones, an expert on agriculture at the University of Sussex, who intensively study of land reform in Zimbabwe over the past decade. “But there are many myths that are caught – that land reform was a disaster, that all lands were seized by cronies in the ruling party that it was all a huge mess. It does not matter. Also, there was a resounding success.”

The result was a broad, if not painful, the shift of wealth in agriculture from white commercial producers on large farms to black farmers is much smaller plot of land. In the past year, these farmers have shared $ 400 million of tobacco, in accordance with the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, earning on average $ 6000 rubles, a huge sum for most Zimbabweans. “The money was divided between 1500 large-scale producers at the present time, together with 58 000 producers, most of them are small scale,” said Andrew Matibiri, director of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. “This is a major change in the country.”

New farmers receive virtually no help from the government, which for many years invested in the larger economy is given to the political elite is connected. Instead, farmers are receiving assistance from the tobacco industry, in the form of loans, advances and learning. In order to revive the industry Boca, so the company has invested significant funds to help farmers improve productivity and quality.

Tobacco is a complex culture that requires precise application of fertilizers and careful harvest. It should be treated and evaluated properly to get the maximum price. Recently, Alex Vokoto, Head of Public Relations at the auction, it is desirable to have noticed a few bales of cured tobacco leaves in a honey-colored on the floor and hurried the man who grew them, Stewart Mhavei, the VIP-lounge for a cup of coffee and a chat.

“This man is growing high-quality tobacco, and he only had him for three years,” said Vokoto. So far this season he has earned more than $ 10,000 on the part of a huge farm that once belonged to a white family, investing profits in the truck to transport his tobacco, as well as rent a truck with other farmers. Charles Taffs, chairman of the Union of commercial farmers, said that the industry could be transformed to include more black farmers in a much less destructive manner.

“The tragedy of tobacco in that expansion, if they had the right policies, can be done in the 1990s in connection with the commercial sector”, Taffs said. Instead, hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs and the country suffered huge economic losses as a result.

Tobacco output is still below its peak in 2000, when the harvest hit 236 million pounds.

Big Tobacco vs rules New Zealands rules

A multinational cigarette company began an aggressive cigarette fightback against laws and prices to get people to quit the habit. A series of tax increase – with more on the way – has made New Zealand cigarettes among the most expensive in the OECD countries.

Other measures, such as a simple package are under consideration, and on Monday, stores will have to hide their cigarette displays. But the tobacco giant Philip Morris said that the regulations are going too far. The company, which has the third largest market share in New Zealand tobacco, distributes maps to direct people to the store website, through which smokers can have their say on the rules.

Retailers are asked to send cards to customers to buy Philip Morris products. The site, which was launched yesterday, “was a place where adult smokers may express its views on regulatory issues,” said a spokesman for Philip Morris, Chris Bishop.

“We talked to our customers … and we really got the sense that they wanted to have the opportunity to learn more about these issues and express their concerns about them,” he said. But anti-smoking group said yesterday that the move “reeked of desperation.” “The fact that they emerge from the shadows and begins to be more aggressive … to try to attract the public to lobby on their behalf, shows that they are afraid of things the government is trying to do,” said Action on Smoking and Health director Ben Youdan.

“If your company gets to the point where it can no longer engage constructively with policy makers and begins to attack them through the website, it shows you die.” In April, the tobacco companies a blow against the Cabinet decision to introduce plain packaging, subject to consultation. Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco announced a move would lead to a black market in tobacco.

Mr. Bishop said Philip Morris; consumers would like more information about such matters. He said that the web site and store cards were “in for a while,” but I can not say when it was first proposed. “Obviously, it takes several weeks for the website to get up. This did not happen at night … and it’s not what we planned five years ago.”

Mr. Youdan said the move Philip Morris showed exactly what the company considered its customers. “Smokers are drug addicts to them, who pay money to remain dependent on their products. “But I think they will see through it.”

He said it would be interesting to see how this plan is to deal the cards in the shops would work. “I suspect that they will try to stir up fears of retailers – what it will cost you business -. And use that as a way to intimidate retailers to take action” But Philip Morris says that the card system is voluntary.

The two main supermarket chains yesterday said they would not be handing the cards to customers.


Local Tobacco-Free Parks

In recognition of the impact Butts Day March 21 Chippewa County Health Department, the Su-Tribe Community Gant conversion project, and the Su-Tribe Community Health program, the partners Chippewa County Tobacco-Free Living Coalition united to highlight tobacco-free parks policy in Chippewa County and Su-Tribe seven county service area.
Tobacco litter is poisonous to children and animals, and discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Studies show that cigarette butts are toxic, slowly decompose, and costly to remove. Cigarette butts were found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. Children usually pick them up and try to put in your mouth. In addition, cigarette butts, who do not represent fully, extinguished the fire and burn risk.
“Without tobacco policy for outdoor recreation are very important to protect and promote health and the environment, and growing support for these policies in our society,” said Julie Trotter, chairman of the person life without tobacco coalition. “Passive smoking causes heart disease, respiratory tract, ear infections, and worsens asthma. Children, the elderly, persons with special needs, health, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to health risks caused by passive smoking, even outdoors. Activities for children should mean to play among the cigarette butts or being exposed to secondhand smoke. In addition, tobacco use in outdoor recreation is not the behavior we want to model for children in our society. Studies show that tobacco-free policies can help prevent or reduce youth tobacco use “she concluded.
Steady progress has been made with this initiative at the local level in recent years.
City of Sault Ste. Maria was adopted tobacco-free recreational resolution, which covers more than a dozen recreational areas in the city of Sault Ste. Mary, from August 2010. Su-Seal Recreation Area, Project Playground, Malcolm Park Pond Fishing Kids, Sherman Park beach and playground, and several other areas of the site have been designated as tobacco-free. The resolution also requires the Pullar Stadium and ice rink at the Kane to be free of tobacco.
Su-Tribe Housing Authority adopted a tobacco-free policy for children’s playgrounds in the city of Su-Tribe housing sites from April 2011.
Kinross Charter Township adopted a tobacco-free resolution for the baseball fields, playground, fitness trail around the center and Kinross Leisure, October 2011. Partners in the Delta County worked with the city of Escanaba, as a result of smoke, outdoor air Decree from July 2011. Regulation requires outdoor areas within 100 feet of city buildings, nine playgrounds, ball fields, six, guarded beach, pool, and Webster, two ice rink that smoking.
For these reasons, the WAC and the Su-Tribe Community Health Partners to continue to highlight this important health initiative. Donna Norkoli, Su-Tribe community transformation grant project coordinator, said: “Our first step is to increase tobacco-free, outdoor recreation areas will inspect local government settlement of their interest in the creation of village parks tobacco-free. Su-Tribe will partner with local tobacco prevention coalitions and other community members in this initiative. ”
“We are ready to provide information and assistance to decision makers, and community members at the local level,” said Trotter and Norkoli.

Current Tobacco Rules

A local university doesn’t plan on completely banning the use of tobacco on its territory – at least for now.
Wheeling Jesuit University spokeswoman Maureen Zambito said her school currently is not pursuing a policy aimed at increasing tobacco policies on campus. The problem occurred after it became clear during the recent Wheeling-Ohio County Board of Health meeting that the Health Department sent letters to three local colleges, encouraging administrators to the imposition of campus-wide policy of no tobacco. This will include chewing tobacco and cigarettes.
Officials and West Virginia Northern Community College and West Liberty University said they have investigated such a ban before the contact with the health department.
Zambito this week submitted a statement in response to queries about her plans for schools:
”Wheeling Jesuit University is always looking to expand and improve our policies and programs, but we have nothing more to tell at this point and time,” said Jim Holt, vice president of Institutional Advancement.
WJU campus is currently smoking, except in limited designated areas, Holt said.
Administrator Howard Gamble said the health department is ready to help any company or organization to expand its policy of tobacco.
In Ohio, county health department has already prohibits smoking inside buildings and bars. The Council was considering extending its rule to include gaps in the currently released – video gambling parlors, video gambling areas inside the bar, as well as tables and video gaming zones within the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack. However, after much public debate, the Council said he did not have enough public support for expanding the rule, ultimately his table for an indefinite period.
We remain in contact with both WLU and WVNCC on their efforts to the Tobacco Free to go. In the near future we will again go to WJU is going to discuss the Tobacco Free Initiative and the assistance we can provide them at the time. (Health Department) works with all three agencies for a variety of issues and will continue to cooperate with them in health and public health,” said Gamble.
According to the American Lung Association, 258 colleges and universities across the country have passed the Tobacco Free, including the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Schools in Ohio, which the Tobacco Free is: Ashland University, Hocking College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Dublin council favors severe restrictions on tobacco sales

Dublin is considering changes that could make the most of the stores to stop selling tobacco for three years. If approved, it will be one of the most stringent local tobacco sales laws in the state. Most California cities have no local zoning rules ban sales of tobacco products in certain areas.
“I think it would reach a new level,” said Justin Garrett, policy manager of the American Lung Association in California. “I would like to address this significant action in tobacco control.”
Saying it wants to protect children from tobacco, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to have its staff develop a zoning ban sales of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of homes, schools, parks and day care centers. Mayor Tim Sbranti was absent from the meeting.
Several cities have filed bans sales, as new business applications, but let’s existing stores to continue selling. But the Dublin Council left no doubt that it is ready to move on, stopping sales at existing stores too close to home or school during phase one, two or three years.
At least 18 years old, and probably more, of the 24 stores that sell tobacco in Dublin will be affected by the ban on sale of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of residential areas, schools, parks and other places where children gather, said Roger Bradley, Dublin’s assistant city manager.
The city will need to explore the map to determine exactly how many stores will be allowed to continue selling, he said. also wants to introduce a new licensing requirements for tobacco retailers.
The 24 retail tobacco sellers in in the city include grocery and drug stores, minim arts and gas stations.
“We’re not talking about banning tobacco in Dublin, but restricting where it is sold,” said Dublin vice Mayor Kevin Hart.
Reducing minors’ access to tobacco use and addiction lowers rates, council members said.
Other cities have shied away from a ban on sales of existing businesses because of political opposition and concern that the company will defend its sales have been damaged or taken away, say experts on tobacco legislation.
Providing businesses for up to three years phased ban would allow them to prepare for the restrictions and recoup their investment in tobacco, Dublin officials have suggested.
Offering a phase in period, the average legal basis between the extremes of banning the sale or payment of compensation directly to stores, said Ian McLaughlin, Senior Associate in Public Health Law and Policy, a nonprofit that offers information about tobacco and health issues.
“Grandfathering in old plants is less risky, but the reduction in the density of tobacco retailers is a stronger public health policy,” said McLaughlin.
Regulators have used phase-in periods with new rules for other industries, including billboards, he said.
No store owners spoke at the council meeting on Tuesday. Messages left for the Neighborhood Market Association, retail groups critical of local restrictions of tobacco, went unanswered on Wednesday.
Dublin council members say they want to adopt stricter rules in November.
Councilman Kasie Hildenbrand said she was pleasantly surprised on Tuesday that the council acts as the rules are strict, as she wanted. “This is a bold step in protecting the health of our children,” she said.

North Carolina Prevention Partners recognizes FirstHealth hospitals

Special to the Chronicle
North Carolina Prevention Partners has recognized FirstHealth of the Carolinas for providing the highest standard of excellence for tobacco-cessation programs offered to patients.
The three FirstHealth hospitals – Moore Regional in Pinehurst, Richmond Memorial in Rockingham and Montgomery Memorial in Troy – were acknowledged as Gold Heart Standard Hospitals. FirstHealth is the first health system in the state to receive the recognition.
NC Prevention Partners works with corporate leaders and staffs in North Carolina hospitals to enhance tobacco-cessation efforts and resources available to all hospital employees and patients. The FirstHealth hospitals were recognized for identifying tobacco-using patients as a required vital sign, providing a team approach to cessation counseling, providing and promoting evidence-based treatments, and evaluating the quit-tobacco system. These are among several components recommended by NC Prevention Partners for comprehensive quit-tobacco systems for patients.
FirstHealth’s inpatient tobacco-cessation program is provided by Community Health Services. Health Programs Manager Linda Harte supervises the team of specially trained health educators who work with the program. She says the inpatient program, which began as a pilot at Moore Regional during the summer of 2009, was a logical expansion of the established outpatient FirstQuit program that was started more than 10 years ago.
FirstQuit receives daily referrals from FirstHealth Home Care Services for patients who are discharged from the tobacco-free environment of a hospital only to find themselves challenged to continue their tobacco-free status at home.
A couple of years ago, that situation prompted a discussion about tobacco-cessation services that could be offered to inpatients and, Harte says, “how we could identify tobacco-using patients sooner” and “support them better while in the hospital.”
Eventually, the discussion turned toward giving hospitalized patients the motivation and confidence to remain tobacco free once they got home and providing options that would help them achieve their tobacco-free goal.
A committee comprised of staff representatives from various FirstHealth departments worked for about six months to develop the inpatient plan. The process they came up with begins as the patient is being admitted to the hospital and is identified by nursing staff as being a tobacco-user. It continues when the physician in charge of the patient’s hospitalization orders a consultation with a Community Health Services tobacco treatment specialist (TTS).
During the bedside consultation, the patient is told that his/her doctor requested the session and asked for permission to continue. During the 20- to 30-minute session, the TTS collects a tobacco-use history and determines if the patient is currently on a nicotine replacement therapy patch to help deal with cravings.
The TTS also determines the patient’s readiness to quit and begins a conversation about the quitting process before ending the consultation with an offer of information about the FirstQuit outpatient program and a referral to the NC Quitline. Patients are left with a “busy bag” of support materials that also helps them deal with cravings.
“We commend all three FirstHealth hospitals for their hard work in becoming some of the first North Carolina hospitals to adopt a quit-tobacco system for patients and now earning the Gold Heart.” says Melva Fager Okun, senior manager, NC Prevention Partners. “They are doing a great job in supporting their patients in quitting the use of tobacco. I applaud their great effort.”
The work of NC Prevention Partners in North Carolina hospitals is funded by The Duke Endowment and is in partnership with the NC Hospital Association.

Shops caught selling cigarettes to underage children

As part of a trading standards exercise by the City of Edinburgh Council, two trained volunteers tried to buy cigarettes in various locations.
Two convenience stores in the south west of Edinburgh have been fined after selling tobacco to minors.
As part of a trading standards exercise by the City of Edinburgh Council, two trained volunteers tried to buy cigarettes in various locations.
During the test purchases, two shops in the south west of the city sold the cigarettes illegally to the under-age teenagers.
The businesses now face a £200 fixed penalty. If caught again, they will see an increased fine of £400 and could be stopped from selling cigarettes.
Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader, said: “Trading Standards officers have been busy visiting shops across the city to remind retailers of their responsibilities when it comes to selling tobacco.
“Retailers generally react well to visits from enforcement officers, and have found their advice useful, but the results of the most recent test purchase exercise are disappointing and highlight the importance of continued action.
“I hope these fines will serve as a stark warning that retailers must abide by the legislation. It is important that young people are aware that they will be challenged by responsible shopkeepers if buying cigarettes.
“I would urge the public to contact us with any information about underage tobacco sales in their neighbourhoods.”
The council carries out test purchases on businesses to make sure they are complying with age restrictions on the purchase of various products.
Prior to the tests, council trading standards officers visit shops and let them know that they will be carrying out checks in the near future and provide information packs on how to comply.
By Catie Guitart

A 21st Century Trade Agreement For Public Health and Jobs

You mean you haven’t heard about the new 21st century trade agreement being negotiated this week in Chicago? Might be because the federal U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) didn’t even announce the 2-week meeting on its website. Or anywhere else.
Trade agreements are increasingly vehicles for bestowing benefits to corporations that even the most beholden national legislatures could not get away with, and that furthermore trump national laws. CPATH’s 2009 report of U.S. pressure on Guatemala to accept trade rules that are siphoning cash away from this desperately poor country and into the coffers of multinational drug companies was corroborated last week with a flood of new releases from wikileaks.
According to Georgetown Law Professor Robert Stumberg, tobacco giant Phillip Morris International (PMI) is perfecting the art of tucking arcane bombshells into trade accords between two countries, and then linking them to hop across borders via multi-country agreements. For example, Brazil and other countries have succeeded in encouraging smokers to quit by placing grimly graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. The U.S. is due to start in 2012. Although they save lives, PMI invokes trade provisions to claim that graphic warning labels violate trade agreements that protect the company’s trademark rights and related intellectual property rights. (Australia is taking the campaign one step further, and on the verge of implementing plain packaging, without labels or color codes that misleadingly assert they are “light.”)
The new Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could strengthen PMI’s hand, and unlike you they’ve had quite a few opportunities to make their case forcefully to U.S. trade officials. The tobacco and drug industries both have prominent seats on the influential and confidential trade advisory committees that give the USTR their marching orders, and they’ve also commented publicly on their concerns. You aren’t invited to these committees, although after years of campaigning they now include one bona fide tobacco control advocate, an international health consultant, and a representative of the generic drug industry.
Trade agreements remain unpopular with the underemployed public, as well as with public health advocates. So while the U.S. is hosting the talks this week with 8 Pacific Rim partner countries, they just neglected to announce it publicly. But the fact is that of the group, only the U.S. will be pushing hard to undermine tobacco control laws, and to prop up high drug prices. If you’re anywhere near Chicago this week, drop by the Hilton to join advocates and see what’s up. And in any case, let the USTR know that a 21st century trade agreement advances workers’ rights, public health and democracy.
By Ellen R. Shaffer

WHO urges more countries to require graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging

GENEVA | Montevideo – More than one billion people in 19 countries are now covered by laws requiring large, graphic health warnings on packages of tobacco, nearly double the number of two years ago, when only about 547 million people were covered in 16 countries, WHO reports today in its third periodic report on the global tobacco epidemic.
Mexico, Peru and the United States of America become the latest countries to require the large, graphic warnings, which are proven to motivate people to stop using tobacco and to reduce the appeal for people who are not yet addicted.

Anti-tobacco mass-media campaigns

The WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2011 also examines anti-tobacco mass-media campaigns, finding that more than 1.9 billion people live in the 23 countries that have implemented at least one strong campaign within the last two years.
“We are pleased that more and more people are being adequately warned about the dangers of tobacco use,” says WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr Ala Alwan. “At the same time, we can’t be satisfied that the majority of countries are doing nothing or not enough. We urge all countries to follow the best-practices for reducing tobacco consumption and to become Parties to, and fully implement, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

Recommended measures

Requiring large, graphic health warnings is among the six demand-reduction measures recommended by WHO. The other measures involve monitoring tobacco use; protecting people from tobacco smoke; helping users quit; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco. Each measure corresponds to at least one provision of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has been in force since 2005 and to which more than 170 countries and the European Union have already become Parties. The measures are identified as “best” and “good buys” in tobacco control.
Of the world’s more than one billion tobacco smokers, more than 80% live in low- and middle-income countries and up to half will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.

Tobacco will kill millions

This year, the tobacco epidemic will kill nearly six million people. More than five million of them will be users and ex-users of smoked and smokeless tobacco and more than 600 000 will be nonsmokers who were exposed to tobacco smoke. By 2030, tobacco could kill eight million people a year. Tobacco use is one of the biggest contributors to the noncommunicable diseases epidemic, which includes heart disease, stroke, cancers and emphysema and accounts for 63% of deaths.
“Large, graphic health warnings of the sort pioneered by Uruguay, Canada and a handful of other countries are an effective means of reducing tobacco’s appeal,” says the Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, Dr Douglas Bettcher. “Australia’s proposed legislation to require that tobacco be sold in plain packaging will do even more to ensure that fewer people fall into the trap of sickness and premature death. WHO stands ready to help countries resist the tobacco industry’s unprincipled attempts to eliminate these important protections.”
More than half of the world’s population, or 3.8 billion people, is now covered by at least one of the above-mentioned demand-reduction measures. There have been gains in each area because of effective action taken by countries in 2009 and 2010.

Key findings

Among the other key findings of the report:

  • More than 739 million people in 31 countries are now covered by comprehensive laws requiring smoke-free indoor spaces – a more than twofold improvement over the 2009 version of the report, which showed that more than 353 million people were covered in 15 countries. Burkina Faso, Nauru, Pakistan, Peru, Spain and Thailand are among the latest countries to ban smoking in indoor public spaces and the workplace.
  • Twelve more countries raised tobacco taxes to more than 75% of the retail price, bringing the total to 27.
  • Three more countries – Chad, Colombia and Syria – banned tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • One more country – Turkey – offered tobacco users comprehensive help to quit.

For more information, please contact:

Timothy O’Leary
Communications Officer, Tobacco Free Initiative
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 5539
Mobile: +41 79 516 5601
Kerstin Schotte
Technical Officer, Tobacco Free Initiative
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3583
Mobile: +41 79 445 2340
Douglas Bettcher
Director, Tobacco Free Initiative
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 4253
Mobile: +41 79 249 3522
Armando Peruga
Programme Manager, Tobacco Free Initiative
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 1496
Mobile: +41 79 249 3504

New York City’s New Cigarette Prohibition

NY smoking ban
Since the mid-90s New York City Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg have put forth a concerted effort to clean up the city. Out went the graffiti, prostitution, drugs and danger, in came more money from the tourism industry. The grit and grime that had become a staple of New York was scrubbed clean. Then Brooklyn joined the party and gentrification spread faster than disease.
Cigarettes are the final frontier, and city officials appear to be doing everything in their power to crack down on smokers. New York was the first state to ban cigarette smoking in bars and restaurants. Over the past year the city has upped taxes on cigarettes making the average pack around a preposterously high $12. They have banned smoking from the city’s parks, beaches, and pedestrian plazas like Times Square. Officials are even trying to pass a law that would make it illegal to smoke in an automobile if there are people under the age of 14 in the car.
Over the course of the past 50 years New York went from a city covered in a cloud of tobacco to the most uncouth and illegal place to light up. Bloomberg began this crusade when he took office in 2002 and found out New York City non-smokers have the highest nicotine levels in the country due to second-hand smoke. Since then he has taken swift and dramatic measures to cut off its citizens from their nicotine fix.
New York has reached its watershed moment in the war on cigarettes. They have strategically eliminated all possible smoking locations except for hot air balloons and Brooklyn rooftops between the hours of 5 and 7 a.m. All of these legislations are being passed down in an attempt to create a healthier lifestyle for New Yorkers. Forget the fact that the city is full of over-stressed insomniacs who eat and drink with reckless abandon. Apparently, the reason New Yorkers are unhealthy is because some soulless scumbags have a nicotine addiction.
As the New York Times pointed out, it’ll be interesting to see how these laws and possible legislations will be enforced. Will it become like other rarely implemented fines for littering or jaywalking? Will Bloomberg form an elite anti-smoking task force whose job is solely patrol the parks and issue $50 fines to violators? How long will it be before Bloomberg attempts to ban smoking altogether?
Imagine a smoking prohibition era in Manhattan, full of secret handshakes and back alley transactions with people searching for a simple for a drag of a Newport. New Jersey would literally become New Yorkers’ ashtray. As ridiculous as it may sound, it’s the direction the city is moving. Some may consider this a victory for the health of our lungs. Others think it’s unnecessary and excessive.
This week “The Daily Show” satirized the new law by sending reporter Samantha Bee to New York City’s parks to interview patrons about the new smoking ban. Using the trademark “Daily Show” sarcasm and purposeful ignorance she hilariously showed that smoking in New York’s parks is small fries when drug addicts are stumbling around and washing their asses in water fountains.
It’s also ironic that New York is receiving headlines for smoking bans while other states, like neighboring Connecticut, are making news for decriminalizing marijuana. The Constitution State even cited one of the main reasons for the decision as freeing up police from petty citations. Nothing says “real police work” like taking the time to write a $50 ticket for doing a completely legal activity.
We are moving towards a city where smoking a blunt in a public park is more socially acceptable than Marlboro Red. In a lot of social circles that’s already the case.
At the end of his tenure as mayor –- if it ever ends — Bloomberg will be remembered as the man who banned smoking from a city that loves to smoke. Then we’ll legally smoke a bowl and forget this whole war on tobacco ever happened.
By Matt Kiebus