Profile America: NYC Bans Women Smoking

‚ÄčSaturday, January 21 — You may think the aversion to smoking is a recent development, but the more things change, the more they resemble 1908. On this date that year, the New York City council passed an ordinance that made it illegal for women to smoke in public places. The ordinance was the result of a campaign by the National Anti-Cigarette League. At the time, a number of cities had banned smoking, along with the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho, and Tennessee. All of these laws were revoked by 1917, since they were not only difficult to enforce but added to the allure of smoking. That appeal has diminished in the past half century, and currently some 1320 municipalities across the U.S. have restrictions on smoking.  Still, there remain some 134 cigarette brands in the U.S., with annual sales of over $31 billion. 

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.