From the Broome County Health Department:

News Release



15th Anniversary of Historic Legislation that Protects Workers and Challenges New Yorkers to Protect Kids

BINGHAMTON, NY – Tuesday, July 24th marks the 15th Anniversary of New York State’s Clean Indoor Air Act, the historic legislation that protects workers from second-hand smoke and helps reduce smoking rates.  

The 2003 state law banned smoking in almost all workplaces, bars, restaurants, bowling facilities, taverns and bingo halls and protected millions of New Yorkers from daily exposure to deadly second-hand smoke and the illnesses it causes. New York was the second state to pass a comprehensive clean indoor air law, after Delaware. There are now only 27 states (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) that have 100% smoke free laws in all non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants and bars.[1] In 2016, New York included electronic cigarettes to the law preventing their use in the same locations where combustible cigarettes are prohibited.

“This was a major achievement in public health that many of us in New York take for granted.  It’s only after traveling to another state that many residents return home grateful for the state law,” said Sharon Fischer, Tobacco Control Community Engagement Coordinator at the Broome County Health Department.  “New York was a leader in recognizing the importance of giving people the opportunity to breathe clean air at work and live healthier lives.” 

This legislation was a major victory for those working in the hospitality industry who were sometimes faced with deciding between a paycheck and their health due to secondhand smoke exposure at their place of employment. At the time, there was fierce opposition to this law and many stated it would be the end of the bar and restaurant business in New York.  

Jim McCoy, owner of the Number 5 Restaurant, was very happy when the CIAA was enacted and said it was a “major plus.”  “The atmosphere of the restaurant was much more pleasant for patrons and it was healthier for staff that worked longer shifts.”  

Despite the success of this law and the countless lives that have been saved, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and kills more that 28,000 New York every year.  Smoking related healthcare costs top $10 billion annually in New York State including $6.6 billion in Medicaid costs.2

In 2012, the US Surgeon General characterized youth smoking as a pediatric epidemic and stated that the evidence is clear that tobacco marketing causes youth to start smoking. Currently, the average age of a new smoker is 13 years of age.3

“Smoking is still a problem in New York, and we still have work to do,” said Laura Kelly, Reality Check Coordinator at the Broome County Health Department.  “Protecting youth from the excessive tobacco marketing they see in stores should be a top priority.”  

Tobacco Free Broome & Tioga is funded by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TCP).  The goal of the TCP is to increase the capacity of Bureau funded partners to change tobacco policies and social norms. Tobacco Free Broome & Tioga is dedicated to building healthier communities through tobacco-free living and subscribes to the recommended CDC Conceptual Framework and Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs guidelines

1 American Nonsmokers’ Rights  2018