A Non-Smoker’s NYC Privilege

November 15th, 2010  |  by Veralyn Williams |  Published in Blog, My Two Cents, Videos


I just came back from Miami, and during this trip I’ve realized how uppity and entitled living in New York City has made me, when it comes to my rights as a Non-Smoker.

On July 24, 2003… (before I turned 18 and was therefore too young to go to most clubs and all bars)… NYC passed the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prevents smokers from smoking in Public and Work spaces.

So besides the 2 times I’ve gone to the really “hood” parties- where EVERYTHING gets smoked regardless of ANY laws… I have never had to deal with second-hand smoke when I’m out enjoying myself or eating in a restaurant. And even at those “hood” parties- I felt justified in feeling that what I was experiencing was wrong and no one should have to deal with that involuntarily.

Well in Miami- No one wanted to hear my non-smoking opinion.

I met a Miami native, who lit-up right next to me, and got his perspective on this issue…

After talking to him I felt 2 different ways…

On the one hand I recognized my “NYC Privilege” and thought well- when in Rome I have to live like the Romans…

I also sympathized with being addicted to something, you know is so harmful, and then CONSTANTLY having to hear people and the media (ie: Truth commercials) remind you of that fact…

…that must suck for smokers. (Pun intended)

On the other hand, as a Non-Smoker, I now have another reason to love my city.

Second-hand smoke is dangerous and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 126 million people are exposed to second-hand smoke and are therefore 20-30% more at risk for Heart Disease and Lung Cancer.

Frankly I rather not take those chances and I’m happy I am not forced to deal with smoke in the public spaces I frequent.

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