N.Y.C. To Add More Smoking Restrictions
Dec. 11 â€” New York City leaders have agreed to a sweeping ban on smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday.
The deal allows few exceptions, chiefly some outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants with special smoking rooms that employees don't enter, and places without employees, such as American Legion halls.
A public hearing on the bill was planned for Friday, and the City Council could vote the same day.
"Because of this legislation, it's literally true that something like 1,000 people will not die each year that would have otherwise died from secondhand smoking," Bloomberg said.
Current city law prohibits smoking in restaurants with more than 35 seats but does not restrict it in bars or bar areas of restaurants.
Smokers and bar owners have complained that tighter restrictions would unfairly curtail their rights, harm tourism and cut business.
City Council Speaker Gifford Miller was not immediately available for comment.
The mayor made the issue a centerpiece of his first year in office and for months refused to consider exceptions to the bill, which even in its revised form would be among the toughest in the nation.
California, Delaware and several municipalities already enforce total bans in bars and restaurants. Maine, Utah and Vermont ban smoking in restaurants but not bars.
The Chicago City Council on Tuesday heard from doctors, asthma sufferers and even some restaurateurs who spoke in support of a ban of smoking in all indoor public spaces in that city.
Chicago currently requires at least 30 percent of a restaurant to be nonsmoking and is considering two proposals: one banning smoking in restaurants, sports arenas and workplaces, and another extending the smoking ban to bars.
Mayor Richard Daley has said he supports smoking bans for restaurants but not for bars.