Restaurant Related News
New York Mayor Proposes Citywide Smoking Ban
By: United Press International
Source: Sacramento Bee
Published: August 13, 2002
NEW YORK, New York -- New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday he wanted the last bastions
where smoking has been allowed - bars, smaller restaurants, pool halls,
bingo parlors and bowling alleys - to become totally smoke free.
"The legislation has got
through a hearing process but we believe the bill will be approved by the New
York City Council," City Hall spokesman Jordan Barowitz, told United Press
International. "The mayor has had a long-standing desire to reduce smoking and
to reduce the negative effects of smoking on people's health."
to city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, just 30 minutes of smoke
exposure makes the blood clot and arteries react the same way a chronic smoker's
do -- increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
causes more cancer deaths than asbestos, benzene, arsenic, pesticides,
hazardous waste sites, industrial chemicals, contaminated sledge, and consumer
products combined," Frieden said. "Secondhand smoke kills approximately 1,000
New York City residents every year. That is why we must act
Traditionally when anti-smoking legislation has been proposed,
many owners of bars and restaurants have said that smoking and drinking go
hand-in-hand and that their businesses would suffer as a result of the smoking
However, a survey commissioned by the New York City Coalition for a
Smoke Free City, along with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart
and Lung Associations, found 86 percent of city residents said they would dine
out as much or even more often in the event of a ban, and 72 percent would go
to bars as much or more often.
The poll of 1000 city residents was
conducted earlier this month by the research firm Global Strategy Group. It has
a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
"I am proud
that New York City will be a national leader in tackling the most pressing
public health issue facing AMERICANS today: the devastating consequences of
smoking," said Bloomberg. "No one should have to breathe poison to hold a job
or frequent an indoor public space."
According to Bloomberg, studies
have shown that employees in bars and in restaurants where smoking is permitted
have a 50 percent higher risk of lung cancer than other workers, even after
taking their own smoking habits into account.
"Working one 8 hour shift
in a smoky bar exposes one to the same amount of carcinogens as smoking half a
pack of cigarettes a day," the Republican mayor said.
workers, this issue is of paramount importance," said Dennis Rivera, president
of the Local 1199 of the National Health and Human Services Union. "Each day,
the 215,000 members see the suffering caused by tobacco smoke - quite often
among the poorest New Yorkers who are victims of the work environment over
which they have no control."
Michael O'Neal, owner of O'Neal's
restaurant and the past president of the New York State Restaurant Association,
supported the city smoking ban and said anti-smoking laws do not hurt
"We were warned over and over in 1994 that many restaurants
would go out of business if the Smoke-Free Air Act (of 1995) was enacted," said
O'Neal. "But after the law went into effect, the restaurant business in New
York City boomed and the city's restaurant industry and employment grew
significantly more than it did in the rest of the state, which by and large has
not placed restrictions on smoking."
Neither of the New York State
Restaurant Association or the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association
were available for comment.
Negotiations in the state Legislature in
Albany N.Y. had come close to an agreement in June for a statewide uniform
smoking law that would ban smoking in the dining areas of all restaurants in
Under the bill, smoking in a bar separated from the dining
room by a wall or at least six feet of space would be allowed, but smoking for
diners would be permitted only in a special, enclosed dining room with its own
The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association's executive director, Scott Wexler, said the state law would be
prohibitive for diners, coffee shops and pubs because the smallest
establishments could go out of business because their smoking customers would
go to larger restaurants that could provide the special smoking
If the statewide ban exempted restaurants under 35 seats, Wexler
said his group could support the measure.
Bloomberg's legislation will
be introduced by the City Council on Thursday.