We applaud Governor Cuomo for recently signing a law banning smoking in outdoor playgrounds from sunrise to sunset. New York City’s parks and playgrounds have been smoke-free since 2011. Now children across the State can breathe easy while they’re playing on jungle gyms, slides and swings.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that estimates that 60% of children in the U.S. aged 3 to 11 years old are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Smoking on playgrounds can be exceptionally harmful since children are being exposed to secondhand smoke during a crucial development period. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in children. Also, infants and children younger than 6 who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
We believe that all New Yorkers have the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air where they live, work and play. Many New York State elected officials agree and support efforts to make public spaces for children smoke-free. New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said, “Playgrounds should be looked to as a place that promotes healthy living and positive choices for our children, smoking in playgrounds works directly against this concept.”
New York State Senator David Carlucci shared a similar view. He said, “New York State must take the lead when it comes to promoting health and wellness, and I can think of no more obvious choice than our public playgrounds where our families come to congregate.”
Smoke-free parks and beaches in New York State have helped to lower smoking rates. Adding tobacco legislation such as this bill shows how far we have come with tobacco control efforts in our State and reminds us that there is always more work to be done.