The Comprehensive Smokers' Guide to Post-Ban New York, Part 3: How To React When A "Responsible Citizen" Confronts You

by Deb Sperling · June 20, 2011

    As you're undoubtedly aware, Mayor Bloomberg's ludicrous smoking ban has arrived. That means New Yorkers who light up at the beach, or in public parks or pedestrian plazas, will be subject to a $50 fine. It is to be mostly enforced by concerned citizens. Today we take a look at what to do if confronted when smoking in a pedestrian plaza.

    1. Stay Calm. Don't do anything to incite conflict or make your smoker-presence known to any further onlookers.

    2. Determine whether or not the person is a native. The vigilante is most likely a tourist -- no self-respecting New Yorker would actually take precious time out of their daily routine to stop and lecture you, especially when they should be rushing. Most will just offer up a "tsk tsk" and move on.

    But if it really is a New Yorker...

    3. Start naming names. Your friend is so-and-so, who knows so-and-so's mother, and he or she would surely look out for your best interests if something terribly unfortunate were to happen to this poor stranger. Right?

    If you can't think of anyone important...

    4. Flee. Run like hell, and do not look back. Seriously. This person--the person who actually stopped walking just to question you--is probably severely emotionally disturbed.

    But if it's an outsider...

    5. Attempt to negotiate. Is your vigilante carrying a map or wearing a fanny-pack? If so, you have the advantage. Make something up. Tell them the citizen enforcement can only be carried out by those in possession of a New York State Drivers' License and/or a 30-Day Unlimited Metrocard. If that fails...

    6. Stare them down. Most people are way more terrified of prolonged, unwanted direct eye contact than they are of lung cancer. While you've got their attention...

    7. Point at something shiny and high up. This is self-explanatory, and will either distract them indefinitely, or give you at least a 30-second head start.

    8. No matter what you do, do not stub out your cigarette. You are only in control until you admit wrong-doing, and as soon as we start doing that, the smoke-haters win.


    [The Smokers' Guide To Post-Ban New York, Part 1: 5 Other Behavior-Bans New Yorkers Should Enforce]

    [The Comprehensive Smokers' Guide to Post-Ban New York Part 2: Where To Sneak A Cig In The City ]