In New York City a pack of cigarettes costs $13, but the freedom to chose where you light up is becoming increasingly limited.
One retired NYPD officer boasts a garden of smokers’ rebellion.
“This garden is about defying and reacting to their attempt to control my behavior,” said Audrey Silk, smokers’ rights advocate. “We’re talking about legal product here. Tobacco is legal. If they don’t want people to smoke they should go to Congress and lobby to have it criminalized.”
New York City’s new smoking ban comes a bit close.
Soon it will be illegal to smoke in NYC public parks, beaches, and pedestrian plazas – such as Time Square. Violators face the potential of a $50 fine.
“Why they sell them. If they’re so dangerous, why do they sell them? They probably make that law because they want to make more money,” said NYC smoker Arnaldo Farnandez.
“America. We sell so much tobacco, but we can’t smoke in public,” said another New Yorker.
Officials claim the ban will limit harmful public exposure to secondhand smoke. This is the latest avalanche of restrictions, rules and prohibitions being aggressively enforces under America’s shrinking economy and New York’s budget woes.
Others include a $100 fine for putting too much personal rubbing into a public waste bin. Taking something from that same bin is also a violation which may cost an offender $300.
In the winter, drivers caught in bus lanes face a $150 fine. There are up to 94 various parking andf vehicle violations on the books – arguably the bread and butter of NYC’s revenue.
In February the Big Apple broke records by issuing nearly 10,000 parking violations in a single day reportedly generating more than $500,000 in revenue for the city. The crackdown followed a season of intense snowstorms which suspended parking rules, eating into winter time city revenue.
Critics like Gerald Celente said policing the people has become a means for a city or state to bring in revenue amid looming budget crises.
“What are these cops doing? Is this why we have a police force? To check on every minor infraction we make. They become goon squads. They have to bring in revenue to keep their jobs, too,” remarked Celente, the director of Trends research Institute.
Every day thousands of cash-strapped New Yorkers visit Manhattan’s finance office to pay the city in pursuit of forgiveness for their petty crimes.
“It’s getting ridiculous. I don’t know. The city is trying to make money where ever they can get people to pay. Soon we’re going to pay for riding a bicycle in the city,” said local resident Piere Henry.
Tickets of $270 each have already been issued to cyclists in Central Park.
“We had just got on the sidewalk and some guy started yelling at us that it’s illegal. We weren’t even cycling. We were just standing,” said NYC cyclist Naomi Wolf.