New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today has taken another important step to protect public health by proposing legislation requiring multi-unit residences to disclose their policies on where smoking is permitted to prospective renters and buyers.
Disclosing a building's smoking policy will help residents make informed decisions about how to protect themselves and their families from the serious health hazards of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and at least 69 that cause cancer. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in nonsmoking adults. Among babies and children, it causes respiratory and ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome and more severe asthma attacks. Children, elderly people and individuals suffering from heart disease and asthma are especially at risk.
Residents deserve to know whether they will be subject to these serious health risks before deciding whether to buy or rent a home. This legislation is an important complement to laws requiring smoke-free workplaces and public places and will further protect everyone's right to breathe clean air.
We applaud Mayor Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley for their strong leadership in the fight against tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. The City has made significant progress by implementing higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free air laws and hard-hitting tobacco prevention and cessation campaigns. New York City is a global leader in fighting tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The proposed legislation continues the city's innovative efforts.