Smoking bans are controversial. Everywhere they have been introduced – from Ireland in 2004 to England in 2007, to give just two examples – these measures have been met by dismay from smokers, who feel that their rights are being trampled on.
Yet evidence strongly suggests that smoking bans significantly reduce the threat posed by second-hand smoke, particularly in indoor areas, like workplaces, where people spend a lot of time.
Now New York City officials have introduced a ban on smoking in outdoor, public areas, including in parks and along coastlines.
While there are no doubt many disgruntled smokers in New York right now, the fact remains that the new law could potentially save lives, not only because it will reduce passive smoking, but also, because it may encourage thousands of smokers to quit their habit.
Quitting smoking is never easy, but there are tools that can help on the path to becoming smoke-free. Among these tools are NHS quit kits in the UK, which include information, advice and free nicotene gum samples. Another tool that has worked for many is the smoking cessation medication Champix, which is available on prescription from a doctor, and which research has shown to be highly effective in helping people quit their habit.