A bill that would ban smoking in city parks, on beaches, and in public plazas picked up some local support.
City Council Intro 332, which is being touted by the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership and Bronx Smoke-Free Partnership, got additional support when Community Board 10 voted to favor making the bill law on Thursday, November 18 in a 15 to 12 vote.
The bill isco-sponsorred by four Bronx City Council members: Councilman Fernando Carbrera, Councilman Joel Rivera, Councilwoman Helen Diane Foster, and Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo.
The resolution passed after substantial debate by the board about the rights of smokers and the declining number of places where they can light up a cigarette or cigar, which caused some board members to vote ‘no’ on the measure.
CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns said that the vote came down to the board’s overall concern about public health.
“The board felt that it was a public health issue and determined that they wanted to let the city council know that they supported Intro 332,” Kearns said. “They chose to draft a resolution supportive of the effort to make the bill a law. A basic function of the community boards is to inform the elected officials about what people are concerned about. It is not uncommon for a board to comment on legislation or other issues.”
TNCAP personnel attended a rally on the steps of City Hall recently with the Bronx Smoke Free Partnership, urging the passage of Intro 332. TNCAP community organizer Julia Geronimo said that the organization supports the bill because smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and also stated that there is no safe second-hand smoke because all smoke is a class A carcinogen.
“TNCAP is very supportive of the bill and happy that the resolution passed,” Geronimo said.“We are thrilled that the community supports such important legislation that protects our children in beaches and parks. We are really excited that CB 10 passed the resolution because we feel it will be a really good measure for the Throggs Neck community.”
But not all were pleased with the vote’s outcome. One of the dissenting voices heard on Intro 332 was CB 10 board member Robert Bieder who was concerned because smoking has already been banned in City playgrounds, and thought the bill goes too far. He said he is further concerned by some who are suggesting banning smoking in all multiple dwellings, including all apartment buildings.
“They are taking our rights away,” Bieder said. “Does that mean that because I live in a two-family house, that I won’t be able to smoke in my own home?”
In jest, he added: “The next thing that they are going to try to ban is ice cream, apple pie, and hot dogs because they contribute to obesity.”