Lung Association Supports New Policy Creating Smokefree Playgrounds, Pools and Beaches at State Parks

Statement of Jeff Seyler, CEO, American Lung Association of the Northeast

ALBANY, NY (04/09/2012)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York applauds the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for taking an important stand on behalf of public health by approving a far-reaching new policy that creates smokefree areas in our state parks.

Not only does the new policy create smokefree areas around all playgrounds and swimming pools, it declares several state parks in New York City and many beaches completely smokefree.

Parks Commissioner Harvey and Governor Cuomo are to be commended for adopting this policy that will better protect the public from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke. Our state parks are places where families recreate and more and more residents and visitors want and expect them to be smokefree.

This new smokefree policy comes at a critical time because the need for protection from secondhand smoke in public places has never been more clear. An estimated 2,500 state residents continue to die as a result of secondhand smoke exposure every year.

For a child with asthma, just a quick walk through toxic secondhand smoke, could be enough exposure to send them to the hospital with an asthma attack. Smokefree areas in our public parks and beaches 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.

This summer, visitors to pools and playgrounds at New York State parks will be able to enjoy these areas without being exposed to dangerous secondhand smoke that can carry serious health consequences and result in life-threatening disease.

This action today builds upon the strong smokefree laws we have in place. It also paves the way for further progress. With more and more municipalities across the state passing ordinances, smokefree outdoor recreational areas are quickly becoming the norm in New York rather than the exception.