Governor Approves Fuschillo Bill to Protect Railroad Passengers From Second-Hand Smoke

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

August 15, 2011

                       New Law Bans Smoking on MTA Train Platforms and Boarding Areas              

          Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo approved legislation he sponsored to help protect MTA passengers from harmful second hand smoke exposure.

          The law extends the existing smoking ban on indoor mass transportation areas to outdoor ticketing, boarding or platform areas of train stations operated by the MTA or its subsidiaries, such as Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North. The City of New York already enacted a similar law banning smoking on all subway platforms.

          "Every day, thousands of LIRR and Metro-North commuters are exposed to harmful second hand-smoke each time someone lights up a cigarette while waiting for a train. Second-hand smoke has been proven to cause serious health problems, including cancer, which is why we need to continue to protect individuals from exposure. As the author of the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act, I applaud Governor Cuomo's support of such an important health initiative,” said Senator Fuschillo.    

          The new law will help reduce exposure to harmful second-hand smoke and will go a long way towards improving public health. Second hand smoke exposure kills 2,500 New Yorkers every year, according to estimates from the New York State Department of Health. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers every year, according to the American Lung Association.

          The American Cancer Society, which “strongly supported” the law, noted in a memo of support that “the only way to ensure that non-smokers are protected from secondhand smoke in an outdoor public place is to eliminate the source of the smoke.”

          The law is also “strongly supported” by the American Lung Association. The American Lung Association noted in a memo of support that tobacco smoke is a “known asthma trigger” and that this law “could mean the difference between having an asthma attack or not for those individuals forced to be in close contact with secondhand smoke while simply waiting to board a train.”