First, it was illegal to smoke in restaurants and bars. Then, you couldn’t light up in sports stadiums, bowling alleys, and bus shelters. What’s next? Nonsmoking parks and beaches!
According to ABC News, New York is one of several North American cities considering smoking bans in outdoor public places, partly because smoking kills 7,500 New Yorkers every year, and partly because a recent study found that nonsmoking New Yorkers have the nation’s highest level of tobacco byproducts in their blood. Since many smokers treat parks and beaches like ashtrays, the city could save millions of dollars a year on trash cleanup alone.
They’re not the only lawmakers making a move. Smoking in parks is already illegal in several states, including Iowa, Hawaii, and Louisiana. Nearly 400 colleges have banned smoking on campus, and the U.S. Navy has outlawed smoking on submarines. Earlier this year, Los Angeles banned smoking within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas. So, what city has the strictest smoking ban in North America? Calabasas, California. It’s illegal to smoke in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.
They’re right to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. According to one study, nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of heart disease by almost 60%, and secondhand smoke kills over 50,000 North Americans every year from heart disease alone. The good news is: Outdoor smoking bans are already saving lives. Studies in the United States, Canada, and Europe show that bans have reduced the overall number of heart attacks by one-third, and a review of the studies found that heart attack rates fell immediately after smoking bans were put in place.