Lung Association Applauds New Law Banning Smoking on Hospital Grounds in NYC

ALBANY, NY (08/13/2009)(readMedia)-- A bill supported by the American Lung Association in New York to prohibit smoking on and around hospital grounds was signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg today. Intro 642-A, was sponsored by Councilwoman Inez Dickens and was approved last month by the City Council.

"No one should be forced to walk through a cloud of tobacco smoke in to order to receive health care at their hospital" said Michael Seilback, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications at the American Lung Association in New York. "Since there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, we applaud Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council for enacting this important public health law."

The dangers of secondhand smoke are well documented. Secondhand smoke lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished and can cause or exacerbate a wide range of adverse health effects. The smoke can trigger asthma episodes and can potentially increase the risk of heart attack.

Besides banning smoking within 15 feet of hospital entrances and exits, the law also bans smoking within 15 feet of the entrance or exit of a hospital's outdoor grounds. The law will apply to hospitals, health care facilities including diagnostic and treatment centers, and residential health care facilities.

"In addition to the important steps taken today, we urge the City Council to immediately pass Intro 433-A sponsored by Councilman Joel Rivera, which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in New York City. Taking these products off of our shelves will help prevent another generation of kids from becoming addicted to tobacco."

The new law prohibiting smoking on hospital grounds will take effect in 90 days.