The U.S. Senate has received a bill that will prohibit people from smoking while strolling on New York city sidewalks.
According to a report from NY Daily News, New York City Councilman Peter Koo says he’s always angered by the sight of people smoking while walking on the streets and wants to see them penalized.
Image shows New York city Councilman Peter Koo
In Mr. Koo’s opinion, when the bill is passed into law, it will spare fellow pedestrians of the nuisance posed by being caught behind a smoker and breathing in secondhand smoke.
The bill which was introduced on Wednesday aims at banning people from puffing cigarettes while walking in any of NY’s five boroughs. However, there’s a considerable provision for chainsmokers – if they agree to stand in one spot on the sidewalk.
Defaulters of the ordinance will be charged $50, the same fine handed to anyone who is caught smoking in public parks. The ban would also apply to street medians and Parks Department parking lots.
Speaking on his proposed law, Mr. Koo said: “It has happened to me many times — I’m walking behind someone who’s smoking, and I’m suffering for five or 10 minutes.”
He continued, “I see mothers with their strollers walking behind people who smoke, and they’re exposing the baby to secondhand smoke.”
Talking about the legislation which he said should be common courtesy, Mr. Koo added that in a perfect world, “every smoker would have the self awareness to realize smoking while walking subjects everyone behind you to the fumes.”
It has been illegal since 2003 to smoke in New York bars, restaurants, office buildings, and all other businesses, but some smokers are crying blue murder for the proposed law, stressing that previous regulations left the sidewalks as one of the few places people have been allowed to light up.
Ceia Cremo, a 48-year-old resident of Jackson Heights, told reporters while smoking an American Spirit as she walked down Fifth Ave, “I think that’s unreasonable…Where else do they want me and others to smoke? You can’t smoke in the park and many other places.”
“I think they should ban it,” said Latoya Smith, a 39-year-old Clinton Hill resident.
“I feel like some people don’t pay attention because when they’re smoking they don’t realize there are people behind them,” she added. “If you’re behind them, the smoke comes directly in your face.”
Rosario, an unbiased Slaten Island smoker said: “We’re victims of this stupid habit…It should be $100.”