Albany, NY - State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D, WF-Bronx) and Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz (D-Bronx) yesterday afternoon passed S 6854-B/A 10141-B in both the State Senate (54-2) and State Assembly (102-2). This legislation was the first of Senator Rivera's health bills that was developed from dialogue with health partners and community members during the 2011 Bronx CAN Health Initiative.
"The Bronx has the lowest youth smoking rate of New York City, however, in order to keep our youth safe from smoking-related disease, we have to also work toward limiting children's exposure to secondhand smoke," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "This legislation [S.6854-B] does just that, by extending the ban on smoking within schools to a ban on smoking within 100 feet of school entrances and exits. I am proud this bill was a product of my work with Bronx elected officials and local community health organizations as part of the Bronx CAN Health Initiative."
Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, sponsor of the legislation in the Assembly, said, "New York State successfully banned smoking indoors to protect all New Yorkers from the harmful side effects of secondhand smoke. This bill [A.10141-B] seeks to further protect our youth who are now exposed to secondhand smoke at entrances and exits of their school buildings from unwanted exposure. Smoking is particularly dangerous to children. This bill will help to protect them from the scourge of secondhand smoke."
"I'd like to congratulate Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz and their colleagues that supported S.6854/A10141-B on the floor of the State Legislature yesterday evening," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "This bill is the first of a comprehensive legislative agenda grown from our Bronx CAN Health Initiative now in its second year. We are uniting all levels of government, community based organizations and social service entities to put forth an aggressive health and wellness campaign for our borough to serve as a model for our city and state."
"Our city's schools should be a safe haven where youth can learn in a smoke-free environment," said Sheelah A. Feinberg, Executive Director, NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City. "Ensuring the exits and entrances to our schools are smoke-free will not only protect youth, but hopefully encourage them to never light up. Our youth have the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air where they learn, live and play."