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Politics and Government
The Clean Indoor Air Act a decade later
It's been 10 years since New York passed some of the toughest smoking laws in the country, snuffing out the practice inside many buildings -- including restaurants, businesses and schools. A decade later, the American Lung Association cites the Clean Indoor Air Act as being influential in helping New Yorkers stay healthier.
"In these 10 years, we've seen smoking rates plummet, we've seen youth smoking rates drop by almost 40 percent down to just 11 percent here in New York," said Michael Seilback, vice president of public policy and communications for the American Lung Association of the Northeast.
Seilback says New York's Clean Indoor Air Act has been replicated in many states and around the world, but admits there is still more the law can do. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering signing into law a measure making hospitals and hospital grounds smoke-free.
New York has also implemented the expansion of its smoking ban in state parks, the same law that prompted a lawsuit from a smokers' rights advocacy group last year. A bill prohibiting smoking in cars with children under the age of 14 was also introduced in the New York State Legislature this year, but was never voted on.
"The New York State Department of Health just put out data, and obviously it takes a long time to analyze everything, but they saw that in the three years after this law went into effect heart attacks dropped by 15 percent directly attributed to this law," Seilback said.
But even with the act in place, Seilback noted that lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer for both men and women in New York. Twenty-five thousand New Yorkers died from the disease in the last year alone.