ALBANY, NY (08/15/2011)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing a bill into law that will make all outdoor ticketing, boarding and platform areas of MTA-operated railroad stations smokefree. The bill, S.3461-c / A.5516-c, which was sponsored by Senator Charles Fuschillo and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee passed both houses of the Legislature in June.
"Governor Cuomo's action today will greatly improve public health and will ensure that commuters are better protected from the very real dangers of secondhand smoke," said Irwin Berlin, MD board chair of the American Lung Association in New York. "Exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger asthma attacks and can even cut lives short. No one should have to endure being exposed to toxic secondhand smoke as part of their daily commute."
The New York state Department of Health estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for the deaths of 2,500 New Yorkers each year. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Those who breathe in secondhand tobacco smoke are exposed to 7,000 toxic chemicals and 69 known carcinogens.
"Every day, thousands of LIRR and Metro-North commuters are exposed to harmful secondhand smoke each time someone lights up a cigarette while waiting for a train. Secondhand smoke has been proven to cause serious health problems, including cancer, which is why we need to continue to protect individuals from exposure. As the author of the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, I applaud Governor Cuomo's support of such an important health initiative and thank the American Lung Association for working with us to make this law a reality," said Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), the Senate sponsor of the legislation.
New York state now joins the state of New Jersey in prohibiting smoking on all MTA-operated train platforms. Additionally, smoking is already prohibited on all platforms of the MTA's New York City Subway system (indoors and outdoors).
"Cramped commuters deserve protection from the proven hazards of secondhand smoke," said Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern). "This ban is a tremendous victory for the health of New York's rail travelers, and I am thrilled the Governor has signed it in to law."
The law takes effect in 90 days.