Lung Association Supports NYC's New Smokefree Parks Policy

Statement of Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of American Lung Association in New York

NEW YORK, NY (02/22/2011)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York applauds Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and the City Council for taking an important stand on behalf of public health by approving legislation creating smokefree public parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. New York City has now joined the growing number of states and cities who have taken action to better protect the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke. This new smokefree policy comes at a critical time because the need for protection from secondhand smoke in public places has never been clearer. An estimated 2,500 state residents continue to die as a result of secondhand smoke exposure every year.

Smokefree public parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas will go a long way toward protecting New Yorkers' right to breathe clean, healthy air. Reducing exposure to the 7,000 toxic chemicals and 69 known carcinogens found in tobacco smoke is especially crucial for those who suffer from lung disease. It is also essential in a city where asthma rates in children exceed the national average.

This summer, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy our public recreation areas without being exposed to dangerous secondhand smoke that can carry serious health consequences and result in life-threatening disease.

We commend city officials for taking action to maintain New York's national leadership on tobacco control issues and thank all those who have championed this new legislation. By addressing the devastating toll of disease and death caused by tobacco use and secondhand smoke, New York City has once again set a powerful example for communities all across the nation. This important achievement builds upon Mayor Bloomberg's strong clean air and tobacco control legacy and will result in healthier city residents, workers and visitors for generations to come.