Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bloomberg Vs. Smoking: Round 2

Fresh off his indoors cigarette ban from a few years ago, Mayor Bloomberg wants to expand the law to each of the city’s 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beach. Citing secondhand smoke statistics contributing to high asthma and cancer rates in non-smokers, Bloomberg summed up his response to them in one simple sentence: “We’re doing something about it.”

The bill has yet to be approved by City Council, but the clear cut issue here is whether this is a genuine attempt to improve the health of all New Yorkers or continue Big Brother’s secret plot to interfere in and regulate every aspect of our lives. The evidence against smoking as a potentially deadly recreational activity has mounted over the years.

We've known for a long time now that the same chemicals found in urine and rat poison are also prevalent in cigarettes. In that respect, one could see Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal as one large step to transforming the city into a utopia of healthy bodies and cleanliness.

But who’s to say that this isn’t a small step in a larger plan to secretly install cameras in our houses? You can regulate indoor facilities, as they are owned by people. Nobody owns the outdoors, however, so how can the city possibly exert such control over the natural world beyond our doors? Is the Mayor attempting to play God?

What about all the CO2 emissions by cars? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase 43% by 2035. And while more public transit systems are powering themselves using electric and solar energy, a large number of cars and trucks filling New York’s streets still don’t have mufflers, adding as much filth to the air as the average smoker, possibly on a larger scale.

As somebody whose father suffered a stroke from smoking in 2006 and now has to take pills every day to survive, I feel that this could really add years to lives in the city, smoker and non-smoker. But the more anti-establishment half of me sees this as part of an attempt to eventually place us all under total mind control using helmets disguised as the latest fashion statements. So, is Big Bro really watching? Check under your pillows and in your cabinets the next time you hear "Whirr" sounds coming from them. They might not be those troublesome mice after all.