ALBANY – Legislation that would prohibit smoking outdoors on the grounds of hospitals and residential healthcare facilities has been signed into law by the governor.
The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D, Suffern), prohibits smoking outdoors including within 15 feet of a building entrance or exit or within 15 feet of the entrance to or exit from the grounds.
At residential health care facilities, patients or guests of patients, will be allowed to smoke outdoors in a designated smoking area.
“We know that secondhand smoke is a killer,” Jaffee said. “We know that secondhand smoke is a killer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that there is no risk-free level of contact with secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be harmful. This legislation will ensure that hospitals and nursing homes are 100 percent dedicated to protecting the public’s health.”
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network State Advocacy Director Michael Burgess said healthcare facilities should be the leaders in the community on health-related issues.
“To allow smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke on their property or in front of their facilities suggests tacit approval of smoking among employees, patients, and visitors, and is not consistent with a hospital’s mission to promote health,” Burgess said, adding new law will allow hospitals and doctors to “truly promote a wellness environment and help patients stop smoking.”