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New York State Marks 10th Anniversary of Anti-Smoking Law

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This week marks the 10th anniversary of New York State’s Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars. While smoking cessation advocates are celebrating the anniversary, they also say there is more to be done to protect public health.

The Clean Indoor Air Act, effective on July 24th 2003, was an amended law that prohibited smoking in virtually all workplaces, including bars, restaurants, bingo halls, and other locations.  Private homes, hotel and motel rooms, retail tobacco businesses, cigar bars, and membership associations were exempted from the law. American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Vice President of Advocacy Blair Horner, also a WAMC commentator, says it was brutally difficult to pass the measures leading to this landmark law.

Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition Director Judy Rightmyer says the expanded law provided smoke-free, healthy workplaces for everyone.

CLASH, or Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, is a New York City based smokers’ rights group founded by Audrey Silk. She finds little to celebrate over a decade of the Clean Indoor Air Act.

American Lung Association of the Northeast Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Michael Seilback notes there have been major improvements in health over the past 10 years as smoking rates dropped, including a 15 percent reduction in heart attacks.

While the expanded Clean Indoor Air Act has been successful, Blair Horner notes that there are still things the state must do to counter marketing efforts of the tobacco industry.

New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Nirav Shah will speak at the Gateway Diner on Central Avenue in Albany on Wednesday at 11 during an anniversary celebration sponsored by the Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition.

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