By Chantal Cooke

No smoking in the park. That’s the message to the people of New York. From 23rd May 2011 smoking has been banned within Central Park.

New York was among the first American cities to ban smoking in enclosed public places. Many cities, and countries, across the world have since done the same.

Non smokers breathed a collective sigh of relief. Even some dedicated smokers nodded in agreement.

There was the usual whinging that accompanies almost any change, but it wasn’t long before everyone settled into the new rhythm. It seemed a fair compromise; no smoking in enclosed spaces, but where there is plenty of ventilation smoking is allowed.

So where does this leave us with the Central Park ban?

Central Park is a large open space. There’s lots of air. It seems a bit unfair to stop people smoking when it’s unlikely to impact very heavily on non smokers. Smokers have already compromised, is it fair to ask them to compromise further?

On the other hand Central Park is New York’s green lung – not just for the city, but for the residents too. On a stroll through the park you’ll cross paths with joggers, cyclists, bird watchers and photographers, dog walkers and many more whose purpose is less obvious. All these people are enjoying the “fresh” air that is provided by a city park. Why should this be contaminated by smokers? We’ve all had a lung full of acrid fumes as a smoker walks past us or lights up just in front of us.

So it makes sense to ban it in the one place people go to be healthy and enjoy the air.

What do you think? Is it a step too far in the anti smoking movement? Or the next stage in ridding us of this disgusting habit and the impact it has on everyone’s health?

About the Author: Chantal Cooke is a professional journalist and author and co-founder of the award winning PASSION for the PLANET.

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