Greengates Builders Merchants

New York Smoking Ban

New York is introducing an outdoor smoking ban. But could the UK and other countries follow suit.

It is a city heralded for attracting incomers from around the world, but New York has just become less hospitable to one group - smokers.

Under measures approved by local authorities, swathes of outdoor public places including beaches, municipal parks and even Times Square have become tobacco-free.

And with smoking legislations, as with so much else, where New York leads, the rest of the world can find itself following.

After the city banned smoking in restaurants, bars and clubs in 2003 - itself following Los Angeles, which introduced similar curbs a decade earlier - it helped drive a global trend.

France, India, Ireland and Italy were among the nations which introduced bans after New York. Scotland prohibited smoking in enclosed public spaces in 2006 and the rest of the UK followed the year after.

So it is not surprising that the latest development in New York is attracting global interest.

The city's latest anti-smoking measures cover public golf courses and sports grounds as well as plazas like Herald Square.

Smoking will be allowed on pavements outside parks, and car parks in public parks. One area the ban does not cover is "median strips" - known as the central reservation in the UK - the sliver of land in the middle of a large road.

City authorities say they hope the new law will be enforced by New Yorkers themselves. But if someone refuses to stop, the public is advised to inform park wardens, and should someone refuse to stop smoking they could be fined.

The New York ban itself comes after Spain outlawed smoking near hospitals or in school playgrounds from January 2011. But whether other countries follow suit largely depends, of course, on whether the move proves effective.

“So do we think Britain will follow”? says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire