State Health Department Announces New Toll-Free Info Line and Web Site Information for Tomorrow's Implementation of the Clean Indoor Air Act
ALBANY, July 23, 2003 - The New York State Health Department today announced that it has launched a new toll-free information line to help New Yorkers become more familiar with the Clean Indoor Air Act that takes effect tomorrow. The Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in public areas such as places of employment, bars, restaurants, enclosed indoor swimming areas, public transportation areas, youth and day care centers, among others.
"New York has taken another historic step to protect and enhance the health of all our residents," State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr. P.H. said. "The Clean Indoor Air Act will provide all New Yorkers with healthier, safer, smoke free work environments."
The newly activated statewide toll-free information line, 1-866-NYS-CLEAN, or 1-866-697-2532, will provide information about the law and answer any questions callers may have. The information line is staffed from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM on Friday and 10 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday. Information including local health department contacts, brochures, signage and "I Love Smoke Free NY" buttons can be obtained by contacting the number.
In addition, the Department's web site, www.health,ny.gov, now includes links to information that employers, the public and bar and restaurant owners will find helpful in understanding and complying with the new law.
The web site includes three distinct guides about the Clean Indoor Air Act: one for the general public, another for employers, and one for restaurant and bar owners. The website also includes the full text of the law, and examples of signs that can be printed and posted where smoking is prohibited or permitted. Consumers can also link to the NYS Smokers' Quit Line web site for information about quitting smoking.
These efforts are a continuation of the Department's aggressive campaign to increase public awareness of the law and to provide businesses and the public with the resources they need for effective implementation.
Soon after the legislation passed in March of this year, the Department held several statewide training seminars for State and local health department staff responsible for enforcing the law. Training also was provided to community partners, including youth partnerships and community tobacco control coalitions who are also providing public education and outreach.
The Department's public information campaign includes:
- Community educational efforts, which have been ongoing for weeks, that include television, radio, print or billboard advertising in virtually every community throughout the state.
- Coordination with more than 100 community tobacco control partners that have conducted public education and employer outreach in support of the Clean Indoor Air Act to facilitate a smooth transition to smoke free work places.
- A mailing to the more than 78,000 restaurants and bars in New York State of the Department's restaurant and bar guide to the Clean Indoor Air Act. Additionally, 35,000 New York State businesses have also received informational letters explaining the new law.
- Providing technical assistance to restaurants, bars and employers through a toll free Environmental Health Information Line, 1-800-458-1158 ext. 27600, to help businesses and employers comply with the law.
The Department also operates a toll-free Smokers' Quit Line at 1-866-NYQUITS, or 1-866-697-8487, that provides information and support for New Yorkers who want to quit smoking.