New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who famously instituted a ban on smoking in bars, may now be looking to target those who want to light up in their own homes. According to documents obtained by the New York Post, community groups will be sent out to convince landlords and tenants across the city to turn their private buildings into smoke-free zones.
The community groups would “work with property managers, tenants, and others on adoption of voluntary smoke-free policies,” the document says.
In return for their work, each community group will collect a $10,000 bounty – paid for out of a Centers for Disease Control grant.
The Bloomberg administration denies it wants to ban smoking in private homes. “The city is not banning smoking in private residences; as part of this federal grant, organizations can apply to fund projects that, among other things, educate the community on voluntary smoke-free housing policies,” said Bloomberg spokesperson Samantha Levine.
This news comes one year after New York City banned smoking in parks and beaches.
There are no laws prohibiting a landlord from banning smoking, according to real-estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey. Landlords need only change the language of the lease, and once it’s time to renew, the smoker can decide to move or stay.
Landlord owners of condominiums would need a 66 per cent majority vote among their tenants in favor of a ban in order to implement it.
Most restaurants in the city outlawed smoking in 1995, followed by bars and bar areas of restaurants in 2002.
Critics call the plan an affront to personal freedom and suspect that it has long been in the pipeline and waited for the public to get used to the public smoking ban before introducing one in homes.
The document reveals that although the number of smokers in the city has dropped, 850,000 adults and about 18,000 high school students still smoke.
The mayor’s detractors often refer to him as “Mommy Bloomberg” for seeming to care more about banning salt, fats, and sugary drinks from people’s diets than tending to the major problems of the city. He also furthered his reputation as being cold and detached when, during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he quickly rode in and out of devastated neighborhoods, often being verbally assaulted for the city’s slow response to the storm, a big contrast with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who actually hugged and comforted crying storm victims.