On Sunday, November 13, a new law went into effect that bans smoking in outdoor areas of ticketing, boarding and platforms on stations operated by the MTA. This law was passed by the State Legislature with bipartisan support and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in August 2011.
Everyone has the right to breathe clean air, and this legislation is good public health policy that protects New Yorkers from secondhand smoke. The North Shore LIJ Health System, Queens Smoke Free Partnership, Senator Toby Stavisky and Senator Andrew Lanza applaud this initiative.
There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Just 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of blood clots and lead to more frequent asthma attacks in children. Secondhand smoke contains more than 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic. Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers. Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke.
Now that the law is in full effect, we would like to encourage Queens and Staten Island residents to quit smoking. Did you know that the Rockaways has the highest percentage of smokers (22 percent), followed closely by northwest Queens (20 percent), northeast Queens (18 percent) and central Queens (17 percent)? Staten Island residents have a smoking rate of 17 percent, while the New York City resident rate is 14 percent.
Protect yourself and those you love by helping someone quit smoking today. Why not? It’s free. Call the New York Smokers’ Quitline at 866-NY-QUITS (697-8487) or visit nysmokefree.com.
If you would like more information on cessation or smoke free outdoor policies, please call the Queens Smoke Partnership at 718-213-1550or visit www.nycsmokefree.org/Queens.
Nancy Copperman, MS,RD,CDN Director of Public Health Initiatives North Shore LIJ Health System
ANDREW J. LANZA
Senator, 24th District
Toby Ann Stavisky Senator, 16th District