Lung Association Applauds Passage of Smokefree Train Platforms Bill By Assembly & Senate

Urges Governor Cuomo to Sign Bill

(June 16, 2011)

The American Lung Association in New York today applauded passage of legislation that would make all outdoor ticketing, boarding and platform areas of MTA-operated railroad stations smokefree. The bill, S.3461-c / A.5516-c, sponsored by Senator Charles Fuschillo and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, passed in both the Assembly and Senate today. However, in order to become law, the bill still needs to be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"The Legislature took a strong stand on behalf of public health today by passing this important legislation that will protect commuters from the dangers of secondhand smoke," said Michael Seilback, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications at the Lung Association. "Commuters should not have to risk having a tobacco smoke-induced asthma attack while they are simply waiting to board a train to go to work."

The New York state Department of Health estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for the deaths of 2,500 New Yorkers each year. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Those who breathe in secondhand tobacco smoke are exposed to 7,000 toxic chemicals and 69 known carcinogens.

"The public is becoming more and more aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke," said Seilback. "Unfortunately, on a crowded train platform, there's often nowhere a commuter can go to avoid secondhand smoke. New York commuters have suffered long enough: we urge Governor Cuomo to sign this important law."

The Lung Association noted that the State of New Jersey has enacted smokefree laws which prohibit smoking on all train platforms including stations which service Metro-North trains. Additionally, smoking is already prohibited on all platforms of the MTA's New York City Subway system (indoors and outdoors).

The law would take effect 90 days after being signed by the Governor.