Recently I was at a conference in Manhattan. If you’ve lived there or visited, you know this: you walk everywhere. Streets are predictably crowded nearly around the clock. What strikes me is the percentage of people who smoke cigarettes. Walking on a crowded sidewalk there is no escape if you find yourself BEHIND someone with a lit cigarette. Gak!
Certainly it’s better in Colorado, right? Well, um…
If you’re in Manhattan from the Bronx or Staten Island, smoking is nearly one in five persons. But overall, the smoking rate in Manhattan is at an all-time low: 13.9% (2015 data — and a celebration for New York as an “all-time low.)
By comparison Denver is — are you ready for this HIGHER — 17.1%! OK, it’s 2012 data, but the quick internet search I completed did not return any more recent, lower numbers in the top 10-15 hits.
According to The Denver Channel, 2012 data show that 17.1% of Coloradans smoked cigarettes in 2012. In certain distinct subpopulations that rate was over 33%. OMG(!)
Maybe it’s just that more Manhattanites streetwalkers are smoking while they walk because they have nowhere else to smoke. Maybe it’s just that fewer Denverites don’t practice smoking and walking at the same time because they are not in as big a hurry or under as much stress as their New York counterparts. Maybe Denver pedestrians are just more polite and considerate of others’ access to breathable air.
I think New York City should pass a law prohibiting pedestrian smoking from at least one side of EACH street in Manhattan. Fresh air for all! Give our lungs (and sinuses, and tracheas) a break! #smokefreezoneNYC