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Smoking while walking' could become illegal in NYC if proposed bill passes

A New York City councilman has proposed a bill that would ban smoking while walking. Violators could face a $50 fine if caught. (Image source: WNYW-TV video screenshot)

A new bill may make it illegal to smoke while walking in New York City.

The legislation, proposed by New York City Councilman Peter Koo (D) from Queens would make it a misdemeanor to walk and smoke at the same time, WNYW-TV reported. Violators could face a $50 fine if caught.

"My bill is very simple, no smoking and walking on New York City sidewalks," Koo told WNYW.

The measure was designed to help keep non-smoking pedestrians from inhaling second-hand smoke, according to Koo.

Smokers would be allowed to stand in one spot, according to the bill, but some opponents believe it could infringe on people's civil liberties.

"This bill is not against smoking, just don't do both together," Koo said.

What do non-smokers say about it?

Many non-smokers think the bill is a good idea.

"That happens a lot honestly to me where I've been in situations where it blows straight back at me," a woman told WNYW.

Another woman said secondhand smoke bothers her because she has asthma.

"Do it to your lungs, don't do it to mine," a third woman said.

What do smokers say about it?

Some don't like the proposal — at all.

"I'm not staying in one spot. It's not gonna happen," one man said. "As I'm walking, you know, it's outside so I'm not blowing it in nobody's face or anything like that."

Others believe the law would be a waste of time for law enforcement officers.

"It would be incredibly difficult to enforce, and it would tie up police time for something that I believe would be better spent elsewhere," another man said.

But one longtime smoker said he would support the bill.

"I think walking, who's behind me is getting my secondhand smoke and he's not able to do anything about it because he's walking behind a smoker," the man said.

What else?

Smokers aren't allowed to smoke in businesses, bars, restaurants and public spaces in New York City.

Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) signed a law aimed at reducing the use of tobacco products by increasing prices and local taxes.

One last thing…
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