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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 02:18 GMT 03:18 UK
New York considers smoking ban
Man smoking
The ban would affect about 13,000 bars and restaurants
The mayor of New York is calling for smoking to be banned in every bar and restaurant in the city.

Michael Bloomberg is expected to ask the city council later on Monday to consider the new measures, saying they are necessary to protect workers.

No employer would allow their employees to work in a place with asbestos in the air - this is just as dangerous

Michael Bloomberg
New York Mayor

New York's new mayor is avidly anti-smoking and, since taking office, has waged a concerted campaign against cigarettes.

He has just raised taxes on tobacco.

Now, Mayor Bloomberg has his sights on toughening the city's anti-smoking laws.

"No employer would allow their employees to work in a place with asbestos in the air," he said.

"This is just as dangerous and that's why we should stop it now."

Profitable move

Mayor Bloomberg pointed to California as proof that a ban would not cause economic damage.

"All of the evidence suggests that in California, where they did this, that actually the patronage of restaurants and bars - the amount of money spent in them - goes up, not down," he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Mayor Bloomberg is building on his predecessor's work
Mayer Bloomberg's predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, banned cigarettes in all restaurants with more than 35 seats.

But Mayor Bloomberg now wants a blanket ban. Some 13,000 establishments would be affected by the move.

The restaurant industry is expected to oppose the plan, arguing the city has already some of the strictest smoking laws in the country.

State restrictions

Most states have some level of restrictions on public smoking.

In addition to California, Delaware and several municipalities, including El Paso, Texas, enforce total bans in bars and restaurants.

Maine, Utah and Vermont ban smoking in restaurants but not bars.

Across America, smokers are becoming increasingly marginalised - in New York, they may soon have few places to hide.

See also:

12 Mar 02 | Americas
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