On Nov. 13, a new law went into effect that bans smoking in outdoor areas of ticketing or boarding or on platforms on stations operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. This law was passed by the state Legislature with bipartisan support and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August.
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 and state Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) 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 in 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 a rate of 17 percent while the city resident rate is 14 percent.
Protect yourself and those you love by helping someone quit smoking today. Call the New York Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit nysmokefree.com.
If you would like more information on cessation or smoke-free outdoor policies, please call the Queens Smoke Partnership at 718-213-1550 or visit nycsmokefree.org/Queens.
Director of Public Health Initiatives
North Shore-LIJ Health System
Great Neck, L.I.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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