New York State Health Department Report Shows Clean Indoor Air Act Having Positive Impact on New Yorkers' Health

Third-Year Anniversary of New York's Clean Indoor Air Act Marked by Significant Declines in New Yorkers' Exposure to Second-hand Smoke

ALBANY, July 20, 2006 - The New York State Department of Health today released a report, entitled: The Health and Economic Impact of New York's Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) (PDF, 378KB, 32pg.), that shows New Yorkers' exposure to second-hand smoke has declined by 50 percent since the law took effect in July 2003.

"This may be the first time ever that research has shown a decline in the public's exposure to second-hand smoke following the implementation of a state anti-smoking law," said State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H, Dr.P.H. "This is very promising news for the health of New Yorkers given the recent heightened U.S. Surgeon General's warning that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke."

This year, The U.S. Surgeon General released a report entitled: The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke that shows that second-hand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. In addition, children exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children. Adults exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk for cancer and heart disease. The report concluded that the scientific evidence indicates that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.

In addition, surveys show that nearly 80 percent of all New Yorkers support the State's CIAA. Previous reports released by the Tobacco Use Research Program at RTI International also show that restaurant and tavern workers' exposure to second-hand smoke has declined by 78 percent and that 93 percent of hospitality venues statewide are in compliance with the law.

New York has committed nearly $230 million since 2000 to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This year, Governor George E. Pataki dedicated more than $80 million to anti-smoking and tobacco control initiatives as part of his 2006-07 executive budget. In addition, strong new laws including the historic CIAA and the cigarette excise tax increases have clearly impacted the use of tobacco products by New Yorkers.

CIAA Report Highlights:

  • Exposure to second-hand smoke among nonsmokers statewide declined by 50 percent in the year following the implementation of the CIAA.
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke declined markedly among hospitality workers as did self-reported cases of sensory irritation (eye, nose, and throat).
  • Surveys of New Yorkers and direct observations indicate overall declines by 78 percent in smoking in bars, restaurants and bowling facilities statewide.
  • Public support for the law is strong and has increased steadily over time.
  • The CIAA has not had an adverse financial impact on bars and restaurants.

Smoking Cessation Report

Also today, the State Health Department released a second report entitled: Smoking Cessation in New York State (PDF, 262KB, 48pg.), which highlights effective statewide strategies to promote tobacco cessation. Each year in New York State, 25,000 residents die as a result of cigarette use, losing an average of 14 years of life, and 570,000 residents suffer from serious tobacco-related diseases.

The new cessation report concludes that smoking cessation programs help smokers quit and ultimately reduce the likelihood that a smoker will develop a smoking-related illness or die prematurely as a result of tobacco use. Studies have shown that smokers who received advice from a health care professional about smoking cessation were more likely to have more successful attempts at quitting smoking.

The NYS Smokers' Quit Line (1-866-697-8487) provides helpful guidance and assistance on effective ways to quit smoking. For more information on New York's tobacco control initiatives and/or guidance on how to quit smoking, please visit: www.health.ny.gov or www.nysmokefree.com.