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Bloomberg Compares Smoking To Jumping Off Bridge; Number Of Tickets For Smoking In Parks Jumps

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At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg clarified new legislation requiring building owners to tell tenants where they can and can't smoke, defending the measure against critics who are calling it a nanny-state law.

"We're not trying to ban anything, but I've always believed, as you know, that if you want to smoke, I think [you] should have a right to do so," he said, according to Capital New York. "But it kills you."

And when asked if the bill was the beginning of an attempt to completely ban smoking in apartments, hizzoner responded, "If you really intellectually start thinking about it, we protect people from hurting themselves, if they're trying to jump off a bridge we restrain them," he said. "Should you really do it with smoking? We're not gonna do it with smoking."

But is it a slippery slope? Last summer, when Bloomberg introduced the ban on smoking in public parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas, he said, "the police will not be enforcing this. That's not going to be their job," Bloomberg told a caller to his WOR-AM radio show. "This is going to be enforced by public pressure." In effect, the mayor was saying people wouldn't be penalized.

But so far in 2012, 108 summonses have been issued to people smoking in parks, a stark rise from the meager 84 tickets issued from last May through the end of 2011. In the first month of the ban, only one ticket was issued. Tickets can cost a smoker up to $300, a number 6 times greater than previously made public.

Bloomberg's new bill requires, according to The New York Times, buildings with three or more apartments to draw up written policies on where smoking is permitted and probhibited-- including balconies, lobbies, courtyards, individual apartments, and so forth.

The penalty for violating the law would be $100.

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