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Anyone looking to light up near Bellerose’s Cross Island YMCA better think twice.
Funded by a grant from the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership, the Cross Island YMCA established a smoke-free outdoor air policy with help from the North Shore-LIJ Health System to clean up its air.
“The Cross Island YMCA is committed to improving the health of our youth, members and the community by implementing a Smoke-Free Outdoor Air Policy for our facility and grounds,” said Dana Feinberg, executive director of the Cross Island YMCA. “All of our entrances, parking lots, playgrounds and tennis courts will be free from the 250 chemicals found in tobacco smoke.”
A special educational program Friday announced the new initiative in conjunction with “National Kick Butts Day,” an event that urges local children to say no to tobacco usage.
Children who were part of the Cross Island YMCA’s after-school program, at 238-10 Hillside Ave., were among more than 2,000 schools and organizations nationwide to implement anti-smoking educational activities. The events included a poster session where students created artwork to illustrate the hazards of smoking and also performed a song, pledging not to smoke.
“Smoke-free outdoor spaces protect children and adults from inhaling dangerous second-hand smoke,” said Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at North Shore-LIJ. “Children are especially vulnerable to second-hand smoke because their lungs are still developing and the smoke can cause worsening of symptoms of children with asthma.”
The Cross Island YMCA said it hoped to help curb younger students from picking up smoking because it would make them more susceptible to health problems such as asthma and heart disease. With help from the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership, the facility officially banned smoking in the area surrounding the building.
“I am proud of the Cross Island YMCA for helping to increase awareness and provide education to protect our children from the dangers of smoking,” said Yvette Jackson-Buckner, borough manager for the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership. “As the U.S. surgeon general’s report demonstrates, there are far too many young people still using tobacco and smoking early in life has substantial health risks that begin almost immediately. We must do all we can to help our youth from becoming the next generation of smokers.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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