It seems New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will leave behind a legacy of bans once he leaves office next year.
The NYC Council added electronic cigarettes to the smoking ban that forbids people to smoke in offices, restaurants, bars and parks.
The decision – proposed by Bloomberg – comes almost two months after the legal age for purchasing tobacco products was raised from 18 to 21. It was endorsed and forwarded by Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“The council has worked for well over a decade to curb smoking in New York City and I really believe it’s one of our greatest accomplishments,” Quinn said before passing the vote. “E-cigarettes threaten, in my opinion, to undermine enforcement of the Smoke-Free Air Act.”
The e-cigarretes smoking restriction is just one of several other bans that Bloomberg imposed – or wanted to impose – during his two terms as mayor.
Since he’s going to be succeeded by Bill de Blasio in January 2014, let’s have a quick look at a list of “Bloomberg’s Bans” and how they fared.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of Bloomberg’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. He released a report in March claiming the restriction and subsequent anti-smoking measures helped prevent 10,000 premature deaths.
In 2011, Bloomberg banned smoking in public spaces like beaches, plazas and boardwalks, and parks.
And most recently, in October New York became the “first large city” to ban tobacco purchases to people under the age of 21, rather than the usual 18.
Big Soda Ban:
Another restriction proposed by Bloomberg that generated a lot of debate was the “big soda ban.” It prohibited the city's food chains – mainly fast food outlets – from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (47 cl).
Much to the relief of soda-loving public, the measure was invalidated by a state judge as arbitrary and capricious, a day before it was to take effect.
Along with the city council’s Sanitation Committee, Bloomberg introduced a bill in November that would ban the use and sale of styrofoam cups and plates that are commonly used in cafeterias at schools and deli restaurants.
One of the world’s leading producer of single-use foodservice products, Dart Container Corp. offered to pay for a recycling program to block the measure, however, on Thursday – along with e-cigarretes – the NYC city council also established a ban on plastic-foam food containers.
In 2005, Bloomberg along with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on forced fast food chain restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King to cut back on the use of trans fats and directed them to display calorie information on their menus or menu boards.
In 2007, Bloomberg put forward “congestion pricing” for the NYC’s midtown area that demanded drivers pay $8 to enter Manhattan. The mayor – who is known for using subways to get around the city – claimed that he wanted cleaner air and people to walk more. The plan was, however, written off in the New York State Assembly.