Fresh air is a precious commodity and a right for all New Yorkers, but many multi-unit dwellings are not smoke-free environments.
Tenants and property owners are subjected to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke even when they have chosen not to smoke themselves. According to the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, secondhand smoke cannot be contained. Even cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate the health hazards of secondhand smoke exposure.
We need to protect our most vulnerable residents: our children. In New York City, more than 200,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke in the place they should be safest: their own homes. Some of these children are entering hospital emergency rooms suffering from asthma attacks induced by the cigarette smoke they are forced to breathe.
From a purely economic standpoint, the cost of rehabilitating a residential unit occupied by heavy smokers, totals more than $3,500. A no-smoking policy can reduce the cost of physical property damage while a 100 percent, smoke-free, multi-unit dwelling means higher property values, lower fire risk and lower insurance rates.
Exercise your right to breathe smoke-free air in your home by contacting your landlord and local city officials to request a smoking ban in your complex. We can all enjoy the long-term benefits to our health and property.
Joan M. Bush
North Shore-LIJ Health System
©2011 Community News Group
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