The new Raekwon album isn’t the only thing smoking on Staten Island. According to a report from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Islanders have the highest cigarette smoking rate in New York City. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley proposed an outdoor smoking ban for all public parks and beaches in NYC. The commissioner’s proposal echos chapter two of the report, “Take Care of New York 2012,” which focuses on the department’s ambitions to reduce smoking rates and also points out the city’s biggest groups of smokers. Here’s what the report said;
“Certain groups in New York City have disproportionately high smoking rates, including low-income residents, blue-collar workers, people of Eastern European and Russian decent and residents of Staten Island.”
So if the Fresh Kills Landfill, (a.k.a. Staten Island Dump) doesn’t rub your respiratory the wrong way the Island also offers an abundance of second-hand smoke.
As far as the outdoor ban, Mayor Bloomberg thinks it might be impossible to enforce across thousands of acres of parkland and beaches, according to the Times article.
I walked through Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island asking people what they thought about the issue and heard some skepticism.
“How are they gonna enforce it?” said a 61 year-old former smoker, John O’Rourke. Then he pointed to the “No Bicycle Riding” sign and said, “Yeah, no bike riding eh. Come on, how many people ride their bikes through here. They’re gonna have to put some teeth in the law.”
Most of the people I interviewed in Clove Lakes Park and Silver Lakes Park were divided on the issue, understanding the health problems smoking causes but still felt a ban infringes taxpayers rights.
What do you think?