Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) recently announced that a new law he supported to prohibit smoking on the grounds of general hospitals and residential health care facilities is now in effect.
The new law prohibits smoking outdoors on the grounds of hospitals and residential health care facilities as well as within 15 feet of a building entrance or exit or the entrance and exit from the grounds. However, residential health care facilities may allow patients or guests of patients to smoke outdoors in a separate area on the grounds designated as a smoking area by the facility. Smoking inside hospitals and health care facilities is already prohibited under state law.
“Numerous studies have shown that secondhand smoke is dangerous and can be a catalyst for many serious health conditions such as heart disease and lung cancer,” said Senator Fuschillo. “This new law will help protect patients, hospital staff, and visitors from the severe health risks associated with secondhand smoke and further promote the healthy environment such facilities should be acknowledged for.”
Nationwide, secondhand smoke has been linked to over 46,000 deaths annually from heart disease and 3,600 deaths from lung cancer in nonsmokers. Additionally, secondhand smoke is responsible for lung infections and ear infections in children, as well as exacerbation of childhood asthma and hospitalizations related to all of these maladies.
Over 100 hospitals in New York State have already banned smoking on hospital grounds and near entrances and exits voluntarily. The City of New York also instituted a similar smoking ban in 2009. This new law extends these protections to all hospitals and healthcare facilities statewide, protecting those living, working, and visiting in health care facilities from exposure to the potentially life threatening dangers of secondhand smoke.