No Smoking Says Mayor Bloomberg

no smoking

No smoking says New York Mayor Bloomberg, as he prepared to leave his post after three terms in office. Bloomberg signed a new anti-smoking law that included electronic cigarettes as well as tobacco based cigarettes. He has made it his priority as Mayor to fight second-hand smoke and its effects on non-smokers.

During the signing of the bill in the Blue Room of City Hall, protesters were present to light up their cigarettes in a symbolic snub to Bloomberg. Not long after, City Hall police took the protestors out of City Hall.  One of the protesters shouted out, “Take care mayor . . . .12 years is enough!”

Bloomberg did not react openly, but did comment that it was time for the smokers to leave. The Mayor then signed the law that extends his anti-smoking stance to e-cigarettes. He wanted to treat these simulation devices just like tobacco cigarettes. One reason could be to prevent any misunderstandings when enforcing the law against public smoking.

Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, bars, offices and city parks in New York City. No smoking is a citywide policy advocated most strongly by Bloomberg and the health commissioner he hired, Dr. Thomas Frieden. Dr. Frieden let Bloomberg know in 2001 that the danger to its citizens was smoking, not terrorism. This was during the aftermath of the 911 bombing.

An electronic cigarette is a battery-powered device which imitates the effects of tobacco smoking. It has a heating element that vaporizes a liquid solution. Some solutions include nicotine and flavorings, while others only contain a flavored vapor without nicotine. Many are designed to help smokers get the psychological pleasure of smoking without the bad effects.

Bloomberg made a decision to sign a law that says no smoking, not even e-cigarettes.

The World Health Organization, (WHO), recommends that consumers should not use e-cigarettes until their safety has been confirmed by scientific findings. The major concern of most medical associations, including the British Medical Association, is that there is no regulation of these electronic devices, nor testing of the safety and efficacy of these e-cigarettes.

Bloomberg has been somewhat controversial, as some New Yorkers believe he has gone too far in the enforcement of his no smoking policies. Some think Bloomberg is trying to tell them what to do and how to do it. However, his activist stance on other types of pollution in the city have contributed to a cleaner New York, as studies have shown improvement in the air quality.

The outgoing mayor has also tackled health problems of New Yorkers, such as obesity. Bloomberg took on the soda industry by limiting the amount of soda served in restaurants and bars by requiring smaller 16 ounce portion cup sizes for small drinks and mandating that cups sizes could be increased incrementally.

Bloomberg encouraged vegetable and fruit markets, as well as required restaurants to post calorie counts for their customers. For children from 5 to 14 years of age, the obesity rate has decreased by 5.5 percent over the past five years. Unfortunately obesity in adults has increased over the same amount of time.

No smoking says Bloomberg, and it may be his last stand as Mayor. Though it is highly probable that Bloomberg will continue to be a philanthropist for New Yorkers and their health.

By Lisa Pickering

SF Gate
NY Post

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