Department of Health Environment Health 125 Worth Street Box66 New York NY 10013
May 17, 2010
I am writing to bring a very grave situation to your attention. I understand that your agency is burdened by many tasks especially the responsibility of keeping the residents and visitors of New York City healthy. As such you may not be aware, from your own observations, this singular epidemic that we suffer through daily which I would like to bring to your attention.
I am not a medical expert so I must call on you to examine your own data concerning the harmful effect of tobacco smoking in our city, including, for the purposes of this letter, Central Park. Not being a qualified scientist for this particular line of research and testing, and not having conducted any personal investigation, I will thus not blindly repeat information which I have only read and heard. I will therefore, give a brief description of what tobacco smoke has on my own body; Even at long distances in the open air the smoke makes me nauseous and unable to enjoy a relaxing moment when I visit Central Park. In the warm weather especially, the smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products suffocates me and I have to do my best to stay far away from the source of the smoke.
It is very unfair for me to suffer because of another person's selfish and unhealthy habit so I am requesting that you put an end to this without delay.
I would ask you to recall your recent action in Central Park, when you took swift action after discovering the presence of a rabies threat which you claimed to have discovered after testing three dead/sick raccoons.
Based on your own press release dated December 7, 2009; after discovering the presence of the rabies virus in three raccoons in Central Park your department took swift and decisive action and proceeded to capture and euthanize upwards of one hundred raccoons all of which proved to be healthy. In a conversation with a doctor from your department earlier this year he told me that the only way to test a suspected raccoon for rabies is to obtain the animal's brain which consequently means the animal, sick or not, must die. There was a word he (your doctor) used to describe such an action but it escapes me presently...'paradoxical' I think was the word he used.
The purpose of this letter is not to criticize your policy and action in such matters but merely to use it as a 'yardstick' for how I expect you to address this severely more dangerous epidemic of 'smoking'.
I base my comparison of the two diseases on information and data published by the Center for Disease Control. According to that trusted agency tobacco related disease supercedes rabies by a very long shot. In fact rabies does not appear on their list of top life threatening diseases which New York City is faced with presently.
I feel that I will be out of place to ask you to address and take the necessary action to put an end to the diseases caused by tobacco smoking in the entire area of New York City, however I will not feel that I am being unreasonable to request that you take immediate action to stop all tobacco smoking in Central Park. My request, you must agree, is extremely reasonable based on the swift action and high priority given to Central Park in the case of the rabies threat you discovered or was made aware of late last year.
Central Park is plagued with reckless tobacco smoking and I am demanding that you give this life-threatening human practice a justly proportional priority based on the danger it creates for health conscious park patrons especially innocent children.
Central Park is one of the very few places in which a person can escape the chaotic environment of the rest of the city--at least it should be. This place which must have been foreseen as a place of peaceful relaxation has progressively turned into a forum for advertising and noisy shindigs of every size and for a multitude of occasions. There are very few peaceful places left in the park, however I will end these latter notes now since they are not in your control nor is it in your interest to create peaceful places.
The NYC Department of Health's defined purpose is protecting the well being of your residents and visitors and I am wholeheartedly proposing that it start in Central Park! I demand that you take immediate action to stop completely all tobacco smoking or any other method where it produces a threat to human life as proven and documented by the CDC.
I look forward to your urgent action in this serious matter.