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> Celebrating 10 Years Of Clean Indoor Air In Tompkins County, N.Y.

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For more information contact:
Ted Schiele, (607) 274-6712; Samantha Hillson, (607) 274-6717


Celebrating 10 Years Of Clean Indoor Air In Tompkins County, N.Y.

(ITHACA, N.Y., July 24, 2013) — Do you remember smoke-filled bars and restaurants? On July 24, 2013, New Yorkers from around the state will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of New York State’s expanded Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), the historic legislation that protects workers from second-hand smoke and helps reduce smoking rates.

The state law, which went into effect on July 24, 2003, banned smoking in almost all workplaces, bars, restaurants, bowling facilities, taverns and bingo halls. It protected millions of New Yorkers from daily exposure to harmful, secondhand 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 35 states with similar laws.

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D, 125) was a freshman member of the New York State Legislature when the expanded CIAA was passed. “I was proud to vote for this important bill in 2003, my first year in the Assembly, which banned smoking in bars and restaurants,” she said. “The law has proven very successful, with a marked improvement in the health of New Yorkers and, contrary to the predictions of the opponents, bars and restaurants continue to thrive. This law was definitely a win-win for New Yorkers.”

Pete Panek, an Ithaca-area musician, is a strong supporter of getting tobacco smoke out of music venues. “I have first hand knowledge of the law being passed because I lost good friends in the music world as a result of playing in smoke-filled bars,” said Panek. He will speak about his personal experience on Thursday, July 25, when he performs with his band, Pete Panek and the Blue Cats, at the Downtown Summer Concert Series. The Concert Series takes place on the 100 block of West State Street starting at 6:00 p.m.

There was fierce opposition to this law and many stated it would be the end of the bar and restaurant business in New York. However, this has not been the case and the hospitality industry continues to grow in Tompkins County and across the state.

Mike Lane, a Tompkins County Legislator from Dryden, sponsored a local law that was adopted in August 2003 to ensure that Tompkins County restaurants and workplaces would remain smoke-free independent of any changes made to the newly implemented state law. The law, L.L. No. 3-2003, implemented smoking restrictions designed to protect the health and safety of County residents. “New York and Tompkins County have led the way by making indoor air safer for employees and the general public,” Lane reflected. “This anniversary is a moment to remember what has been accomplished, while at the same time reminding us to redouble our efforts towards an even greater reduction in tobacco usage by children and adults.”

Compliance with New York State’s expanded Clean Indoor Air Act at the 10 year mark is nearly perfect among bars and restaurants, according to a 2013 study just released by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Bureau of Tobacco Control.(1) Unannounced observations of restaurants and bars from every county resulted in 100 percent of restaurants being smoke-free, and 99.4 percent of bars. In 2006, three years out, the rates were 99 percent and 79 percent, respectively.

The indoor smoking ban has produced clear health benefits, research shows. In the first 3-1/2 years after implementation of the 2003 law, hospitalizations for heart attacks were 15 percent lower than expected in New York State, based on data from prior years.(2) The statewide law reduced exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke by nearly 50%, according to a study by the NYSDOH.(3)

“This was a major achievement in public health that has helped many people,” said Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director.

However, 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 than 25,000 New Yorkers every year.(4) Smoking related healthcare costs top $8 billion annually in New York State including $5.4 billion in Medicaid costs.(5)

“Smoking is still a problem in New York, particularly among teens, and we still have work to do,” said Ted Schiele, Program Coordinator for Tobacco Free Tompkins, a program of the Tompkins County Health Department. “Protecting youth from the excessive tobacco marketing they see in stores should be a top priority moving forward.”

Tobacco Free Tompkins is partnering with local businesses to celebrate the anniversary. Bars and restaurants will display commemorative Clean Indoor Air Act table tents during the week of July 22, 2013. The public can participate in the celebration by supporting local establishments and participating in a one-question survey asking how they feel about smoke-free New York. The survey is available using a QR code on the table tents, or at

Tobacco Free Tompkins (T-Free), a program of the Tompkins County Health Department, is a Community Partnership funded by the New York State Bureau of Tobacco Control. T-Free engages in community education and advocacy to keep the air smoke-free, support smokers who want to quit, and help teens beat the tobacco trap, because we cannot afford another generation of tobacco addiction. Visit Tobacco Free Tompkins on the Web at

NYSDOH data on CIAA compliance and health impacts, July 2013, available at (PDF, 1.5MB)

Compliance with the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act, 2003–2013. Accessed 7/19/13.
2/ Ibid.
3/ Juster, H. et al., “Declines in hospital Admissions for Acute Myocardial Infarction in New York State After Implementation of a Comprehensive Smoking Ban,” AJPH, November 2007
4/ American Cancer Society, The Cancer Burden in New York State, July 2012


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