Albany Times Union (Letter to the editor) Smoke-free policy protects children

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First published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

 

The American Lung Association in New York commends Cohoes City Councilman Ralph Signoracci IV for proposing legislation to make city playgrounds smoke-free ("Cohoes council to consider ban on smoking in parks," May 7). Many local governments across New York have passed similar laws to protect their citizens from this dangerous air pollutant and known asthma trigger.

When the U.S. surgeon general has declared that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, it is not only appropriate, but absolutely necessary, that exposure be limited in areas where children and families go to enjoy recreational activities.

Because their lungs are so much smaller, children breathe in 50 percent more pollution than adults, making them more susceptible to the dangers associated with tobacco smoke, even if outdoors.

Secondhand smoke has been linked to contributing to and causing dozens of diseases and illnesses including asthma, heart disease, respiratory tract infections and ear infections. It worsens asthma conditions and has been linked to being a significant cause of early childhood asthma. It also is responsible for an estimated 54,000 U.S. deaths each year.

The Lung Association urges the Cohoes Common Council to protect its residents' health by adopting a smoke-free policy for its playgrounds.

Scott T. Santarella
President and CEO
American Lung Association in New York
Albany