Leading state and national healthcare advocates gathered today with public officials and others at the Gateway Diner on Albany's Central Avenue to mark the 10th Anniversary of the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act.
New York's 2003 Clean Indoor Air Act banned smoking in almost all workplaces, including bars, restaurants, bowling facilities, taverns and bingo halls. In the past 10 years, the Act has protected millions of citizens from daily exposure to deadly secondhand smoke and the illnesses it causes.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Health revealed that 10 years later, statewide compliance with the Clean Indoor Air Act by bars and restaurants is nearly universal.
There are now 25 states with similar laws. Don Distasio, executive Vice President of the American Cancer Society Eastern Division, says they're working on the other half. Despite significant progress in reducing the impact of secondhand smoke, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and kills more than 25,000 New Yorkers every year. Smoking-related healthcare costs top $8 billion annually in New York State.
Wednesday’s visit was also attended by Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Sue Kelly, the executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.
Judy Rightmyer, director of the Capital District tobacco-free coalition, is at the podium. Standing behind her: Melissa Berrigni, the owner of the Gateway Diner. She recalled her experiences at the restaurant when she worked there as a waitress in the times before the Clean Indoor Air act was in effect.
(Background) Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings chats with Sue Kelly, the executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.