MASSENA - Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of the Clean Indoor Air Act in New York state, prompting the St. Lawrence County Tobacco Free Community Partnership to acknowledge the occasion by teaming up with local Pizza Hut restaurants.
The law protects employees from exposure to second hand smoke in the workplace and all week, servers at the Massena, Potsdamand Canton locations wore t-shirts with themes and logos on them to celebrate the anniversary. Additionally, each building featured a three foot by10 foot banner outside every day to notify the public of the partnership and celebration.
New York became the second state in the country to pass the act after Delaware, and Program Coordinator Benjamin R. Todd said that many other states have followed suit. He also explained what he believed to be the biggest benefits and positives to come out of the passing of the law.
Its done a lot to protect workers and the general public, especially when you talk about bowling alleys and bars and people becoming exposed. Its certainly changed the perception of how people use tobacco products, Mr. Todd said.
The law prohibited smoking inside nearly all workplaces, bars, restaurants, taverns, etc. in the state of New York, preventing millions of people from being exposed. The enactment also generated much opposition, with many feeling that the new law would severely affect New York bars and restaurants in a negative way. However, many areas have seen increases in business and employment, mostly putting to rest the argument.
Mr. Todd realizes that after a long time coming and a lot of work the passing of the law was monumental. Despite this, he is now focused on tackling another issue.
I know that (the passing of the act) took a long time. We were in a meeting last year, and they said it took a long time to go through. It made the most sense to go through at the state level, he said. Moving forward, the one thing we havent been able to impact as much is youth. Youth exposure in tobacco marketing is one of the main causes in youth becoming addicted to nicotine.
Pizza Hut seemed like a natural fit according to Mr. Todd due to the fact that the company has strong feelings about the issue as well.
We tried to identify establishments that were around 10 years ago. The relationship we were able to develop with (Pizza Hut) was strong. When I spoke with the regional manager, he was passionate about the topic. They saw the benefit to their workers. The partnership with Pizza Hut has gone fantastically well. Regionally theyve been very good partners, Mr. Todd said.