I'm a big believer in public health measures that affect large groups of people so basically I approve of the public smoking ban that went into effect here in New York City today. It's now illegal to puff away in parks and on beaches, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas although smokers can still light up on sidewalks. It's already illegal to smoke in restaurants and bars.
I was able to quit smoking many years ago (after a half dozen failed attempts) when the city banned smoking in office buildings so I know how important this kind of law can be to an individual. But the purported beneficiaries of this new law are actually non-smokers who could be injured by secondhand smoke wafting over their picnics in Central Park. I think that's harder case to make.
And to make it even more complicated, city officials say the chief enforcers of this new ban will not be cops or parks personnel, who already have enough to do in this city. Instead, people are just supposed to obey the law. If they don't, they could face a $50 fine although it's not clear how that would be levied.
Smokers who want to quit and need an extra push may find this helpful. But for the rest – there's always New Jersey.