Long Island City, NY – The Long Island City YMCA will be preventing health risks caused by secondhand smoke starting on July 15 thanks to the North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Office of Community Health and a grant from the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership.
The YMCA will have a smoke-free outdoor air policy, meaning that there should be no smoking within 15 feet of the facility’s entrances and exits. Signs have been posted to make people aware of the policy.
Inhaling even trace amounts of secondhand smoke can be hazardous to people’s health, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. For children, secondhand smoke can lead to various ailments from ear infections to pneumonia; for infants it also puts them at greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
About 60 percent of American children between the ages of three and 11 take in some secondhand smoke exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
“To protect our children’s health, it is critical that we provide them with outdoor spaces that are free of smoke,” said Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “It is one thing to prevent smoking in public indoor places but children are still bombarded with smoke outside. Even a half hour of secondhand smoke exposure can cause more frequent asthma attacks in children with the disease.”
Kathleen Rahill, group exercise/Y personal fitness coordinator, said, “Having developed asthma at a young age from secondhand smoke, I feel compelled to help the members and staff of the Long Island City YMCA, who come here seeking to enhance their health, breathe air free from the pollution and possible illness that tobacco smoke brings about.”
“We applaud the Long Island City YMCA for taking an important step to help protect the health of their youth, members and community,” said Yvette Buckner, borough manager of the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership. “They are leading the way to raise awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke by committing to limit exposure for everyone who walks through their front doors.”
For more information about how your group can start a smoke-free outdoor air policy, contact Ms. Copperman at 516-465-3180.