NYC Bans Women Smoking

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett and City Council Members announce sweeping legislation to curb smoking and tobacco usage during a press conference at the offices of the American Heart Association on Monday, April 19, 2017. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Sunday, January 21st. 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. At the time, a number of cities and states had banned smoking. All of these laws were revoked by 1917, since they were not only difficult to enforce but added to the allure of the habit. That appeal has diminished in the past half century, and currently some 1395 municipalities nationwide have restrictions on smoking. Still, there remain some 127 cigarette brands, with domestic manufacturers’ annual sales of over $31 billion.

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