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Advocates Applaud 10 Years of Cleaner Indoor Air In Westchester

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, Westchester Health Commissioner Sherita Amler, Assemblyman Steve Otis, Open Door's Ellette Hirshorn, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and County Legislator Catherine Borgia celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the clean air acts.
Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, Westchester Health Commissioner Sherita Amler, Assemblyman Steve Otis, Open Door's Ellette Hirshorn, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and County Legislator Catherine Borgia celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the clean air acts. Photo Credit: Provided

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Community clean-air advocates and elected officials recently joined together in White Plains to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the New York State Clean Indoor Air Act and the Westchester Smoke-Free Workplace Law.

At the event, the group honored Assemblyman Tom Abinanti for drafting, sponsoring and passing the Westchester law when he was a county legislator.

“We understood 10 years ago what almost everyone understands today – second hand smoke kills,” Abinanti said. “There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.”

The Westchester County Legislature passed its law March 3, 2003, and was immediately followed by Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The local efforts spurred the state legislature to pass the state law only weeks later. All of these laws banned smoking in restaurants, bars and the workplace and have continued to protect workers and patrons from second-hand smoke and helped reduce smoking rates. At the event, Abinanti pledged to sponsor legislation to toughen the state law to match the stronger Westchester law, especially to ban smoking in hotel rooms statewide and protect workers in outdoor but confined areas. “The success of the efforts to pass clean air legislation provide three lessons,” he said. “Good government is good politics. Good policies can be achieved by regional cooperation, no matter how strong the opposition. The state will follow the lead of local governments.”

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