March 22 (UPI) — A New York City lawmaker proposed a bill Wednesday to ban smoking while strolling down a city sidewalk.
Councilman Peter Koo of Queens said if people are going to smoke in public, they should stand in one place to avoid getting smoke in other people’s faces or else be subject to a $50 fine.
“In a perfect world, every smoker would have the self-awareness to realize that smoking and walking down a crowded sidewalk subjects everyone behind you to breathing in the fumes,” Koo said, according to Pix 11-TV. “Unfortunately, we’ve all had the experience of getting stuck behind a smoker while walking down a crowded city sidewalk.”
Koo told the New York Daily News he has been stuck behind a smokers many times and was subject to “suffering for five or 10 minutes.”
“I see mothers with their strollers walking behind people who smoke, and they’re exposing the baby to secondhand smoke,” Koo added.
The proposal brought mixed reactions from New Yorkers.
One smoker told Fox 5-TV he will refuse to stand in one spot as he enjoys his smoke.
“It’s not gonna happen,” he said. “As I’m walking, it’s outside, I’m not blowing it in anyone’s faces.”
“I think that’s unreasonable,” Queens resident Ceia Cremo told the Daily News. “Where else do I have left to smoke? You can’t smoke in the park, you can’t smoke in a lot of places.”
Smoking is already prohibited in New York City parks, bars, restaurants and public indoor spaces.
But Brooklyn resident Latoya Smith said the ban would be a reasonable solution to a serious problem.
“I feel like some people don’t pay attention because when they’re smoking they don’t realize there are people behind them. If you’re behind, it’s directly in your face,” she said.
In addition to restrictions on where they can smoke, New Yorkers also pay a slew of taxes on their cigarettes. Including taxes and the city-mandated minimum price per pack, New Yorkers are required to pay at least $13 per pack.