A bill that passed both houses of the Legislature would ban smoking on the grounds of hospitals, nursing homes and most health care centers.
June 25, 2013A bill passed through the Legislature last week that would prohibit smoking on and around hospital grounds and nursing homes throughout New York state.
The legislation (A.1115-a/S.1987-a) sponsored in their respective houses by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe, D-Rockland, and Sen. Jack Martins, R-Mineola, would prohibit smoking while on hospital campus grounds and within fifteen feet of the property lines of hospitals and nursing homes.
"Health care facilities are the places we go to get treatment, heal and recover from serious illnesses," Martins said. "They should not be the place where our health concerns start or are worsened.
"The facts are clear – secondhand smoke kills," Martins said.
The legislation passed unanimously in the Assembly and every senator but one — Betty Little, R-Queensbury — voted in favor of the bill.
"I'm pleased that we were able to expand this important protection to hospitals and nursing homes," Jaffe said. "We know that secondhand smoke is a killer, and there is nothing more effective or emblematic for the health of New Yorkers than making our healing facilities smoke-free."
The American Lung Association of the Northeast, a strong supporter of the bill, applauded the actions of the Legislature.
"No one should be forced to walk through a toxic cloud of tobacco smoke in order to receive health care at their hospital or while trying to recuperate or stay well at a residential health care facility," said Jeff Seyler, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.
"The surgeon general states there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and we applaud the Legislature for passing this important public health measure and urge Governor Cuomo to sign it into law," Seyler said.
The legislation will now be sent to Gov. Cuomo's desk where it will await his signature. If the governor signs the bill into law it will take effect ninety days later.