Syracuse, NY, may require downtown employees to smoke

Frustrated by efforts to quell an increase in cigarette smoking by downtown workers, the city of Syracuse, NY, is considering a radical response.

If the City of Syracuse's proposed smoking ordinance  passes, this sign and others like it will be out-of-date. If the ordinance is successful, the city may consider a law requiring loitering.

If the City of Syracuse’s proposed smoking ordinance passes, this sign and others like it will be out-of-date. If the ordinance succeeds in reducing smoking, the city may consider a law requiring loitering.

City officials have drafted an ordinance that would require all employees who work downtown to smoke outside during their breaks. The proposal comes on the heels of ineffective public service messages about the dangers of cigarettes.

In a draft version of the ordinance obtained by Irish Investigations, non-smokers will be fined $25 and must attend a re-education seminar. Lunchtime joggers are exempt, but will be strongly encouraged to light up after they cool down.

“Our feel-good public health campaign to reduce smoking and air pollution levels flopped,” said Syracuse Mayor Sidd Finch. “No one likes to be told what they can or cannot do anymore. We’re hoping smokers join the non-smokers in raising a stink about the ordinance, and end up quitting. We’ve tried everything else, so why not a little reverse psychology?”

Mayor Finch resorted to this drastic measure after downtown smokers ignored requests to light up behind buildings, in parking lots or in other spots far away from co-workers and the city’s many tourists who prefer oxygen. Billboards showing cancerous lungs and fatality statistics weren’t well-received.

“If smokers want to kill themselves slowly, fine,” Finch said. “But they can do it at home or in their cars, not on city sidewalks. There is such a thing as third-hand smoke, but at least that’s easier for the rest of us to avoid.”

The mayor, a regular inhaler of second-hand smoke by virtue of taking regular walks downtown, is expected to announce the modest proposal Monday at noon. A media event is planned for the steps of City Hall, one of the few entrances to Syracuse buildings not enhanced by the fumes of the 70 known carcinogens in cigarettes or littered with butts.

Complimentary “Light Up, Syracuse!” matchbooks and “Thank you for smoking” window stickers will be distributed. Public health officials, tobacco industry representatives, civil liberties attorneys and funeral home directors are expected to attend.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in cancer, Irish Investigations, role models, running and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Syracuse, NY, may require downtown employees to smoke

  1. ksbeth says:

    hahahaha – love this, jim )

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jim McKeever says:

    Thanks, Beth! It’s brutal trying to breathe out there some days…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim, I’m a little confused! But that’s nothing new. The town of Banff in Banff National Park here in Alberta, Canada has made it against the law to smoke on the sidewalks (I believe, don’t quote me on that!)

    Here in Calgary, a bylaw has been passed that forbids smoking in public parks or anywhere that children typically congregate and in Okotoks, Aberta a bylaw was passed that forbids smoking in cars when kids are present. Also, smoking is not permitted in restaurants and bars or on the outdoor patios of restaurants and bars in all of Canada. I support all of these laws.

    I am a smoker. A lot of people don’t know that because I feel stupid about being a smoker. It is my hope that I will quit one day. In the meantime, as a closet smoker, I’ve dramatically cut down. 😀

    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. markbialczak says:

    I am tired of people blowing smoke up my skirt, Jim. Wait, up my shirt. You’re right. It’s walk three yards and a cloud of smoke.

    You are a funny man, funny guy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim McKeever says:

      Thanks, Mark ,.. I hesitated in taking a snarky approach to a genuine public health problem, but it’s incredibly frustrating and annoying to be surrounded by this day in and day out. I blame the tobacco companies for doctoring the nicotine levels and making addicts out of people for the almighty dollar.


      • markbialczak says:

        There are many people to blame in this tale, Jim, but the victims are the folks sucking that crap directly into their lungs despire repeated warnings tagged with skulls and crossbones.

        Liked by 2 people

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Study says smokers are not addicted to nicotine

        Craving for cigarettes is more to do with the mind than the addictive influence of nicotine. In other words, it is the psychological element of smoking that makes one addicted to cigarettes, a new study conducted by Israeli scientists has revealed.

        The psychological element of smoking is the key factor deciding the intensity of craving for cigarettes in a smoker compared to the physiological effects of nicotine as an addictive chemical, says Dr. Reuven Dar of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Psychology.

        “These findings might not be popular with advocates of the nicotine addiction theory, because they undermine the physiological role of nicotine and emphasize mind over matter when it comes to smoking,” says Dr. Dar, in his new study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.


  5. In Ohio you cannot smoke in public buildings, restaurants, bars, etc. It’s outside you go to light up. And even outside, many places are deemed inappropriate. The common walkways are also barred from smokers so non smokers dont have to walk through it. All of the smokers I know comply with common courtesy any way. So it works well.


    • Jim McKeever says:

      I’m glad to her that, Colleen … I wish some folks who work downtown here would show the same courtesy and stop ignoring the No Smoking signs.


      • Sadly….not everyone follows rules and/or cares. I have to say I’ve been very lucky. My coworkers and friends who smoke are SO courteous. I often feel bad for them. But I don’t recall a one of them complaining about having to go outside to smoke, or not being able to smoke in the restaurant. Most of them “wish” they could stop smoking. So they understand those who don’t want to share their air.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Joseph McKeever says:

    Outstanding work. I was hoping Sidd Finch would find a second career in mid-life after his disappointing exit from the doorstep of a Hall of Fame baseball career.

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
    November 2004.

    “5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

    In other words … our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can’t even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact … we don’t even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

    The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.


  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

    The whole tone of the article seems to be that the NHS is prepared to grant us an enormous favour by consenting to use our filthy organs. Oh, and don’t miss the comments; they’re hilarious…


  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoking has health benefits

    After years of ad campaigns and laws designed to decrease smoking, new studies have found that smoking actually has health benefits. Smoking not only improves athletic performance, but also can relieve symptoms of anxiety associated with college coursework.

    Smoking anything from hookah to cigarettes has been shown to increase lung capacity and allows for faster muscle gain. Furthermore, nicotine aids in stress relief and treats anxiety.

    One study took place last year by a group of researchers at Halard University. Dr. Lemon Racheter, the leader of the team, said that, “We just felt as if there was not enough research to really prove that smoking was detrimental. It turned out we were right.”

    The researchers first looked into smoking’s effect on cardiovascular performance. Participants were told to smoke a pack of cigarettes every two days while they were training for a half marathon.

    During the actual race, runners took smoking breaks instead of stopping at the water stops. Their performance was compared to results from their previous races.

    The researchers discovered surprising results – almost all of the participants ran their personal record after the strict smoking regimen. Many reported that it was easier to breathe, especially at the end of the race.

    The team then decided to delve further. Participants were first put on a strict weight lifting routine, where they recorded how fast they were able to gain muscle and increase the amount of weight.

    These participants were then put on a smoking regimen similar to that of the runners. They were told to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for four weeks. Again, they experienced surprising results. The participants were able to gain muscle faster than they ever had before.

    During the same time as this study, research in Sweden explored the benefits of smoking hookah on a weekly basis. Dr. Reggie Hathaway said, “We as a team, felt that hookah could be essential to living a healthy and long life.”

    First, a group of students was asked to smoke hookah three times a week and during any times of high stress. Students reported that it helped lower stress levels and anxiety related to classes or jobs.

    After several months, students found that their grades rose and they were able to manage their time and plan ahead. Professors reported that many of these students were more attentive and involved in their classes.

    The researchers recommend that university students around the world begin incorporating hookah into their regular care routine. The same team has begun to explore hookah’s effects on physical activity and athleticism and they predict that they will find similar results.

    Dr. Hathaway says, “Scientifically, smoking hookah should increase lung capacity and make breathing easier. We hope that as the benefits of hookah become more well known, more people will consider incorporating it into their lifestyles.”

    This renewed interest in smoking research will change everything previously thought to be true about its impact on health. Soon, medical professionals may begin to encourage the use of cigarettes, hookah and other such products


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