Bloomberg touts economic, health benefits of decade of smoke free bars
It's been a decade since New Yorkers have been able to light up while enjoying a beer at their favorite watering hole and the mayor said yesterday that his initiative has made the world healthier.
Not only did the ban on indoor smoking in restaurants and bars result in 10,000 fewer premature deaths from tobacco-related diseases, it has been a boon for businesses, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who marked the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Smoke-Free Air Act at the Old Town Bar on East 18th Street.
"I can't tell you how many restaurant workers have told me it's made a difference in their lives," Bloomberg said.
Peter "Chip" Sylvester, an Old Town bartender of 27 years, agreed.
At first he thought that the law would hurt the character of the bar, but it did the exact opposite.
"The first result was that you could walk into the bar and see the other end," he joked.
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley noted that the ban changed the way people viewed the habit.
"It made smoking socially unacceptable," he said.
Last week, Bloomberg introduced two bills that would create a minimum price for cigarettes and prohibit grocery stores from openly displaying them on shelves.