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Letter: Clean Air, Clean Hearts

This summer marks a milestone for success in the fight against heart disease. It has been 10 years since you have been asked “smoking or non?” in New York restaurants and bars.

The Clean Indoor Air Act established smoke-free workplaces. The CIAA has been helping protect New Yorkers from the dangers of secondhand smoke for a decade. Experts estimate secondhand smoke causes up 128,900 heart attacks annually. Studies around the world show heart attack rates drop immediately following the enactment of laws like the CIAA. By keeping smoke out of workplaces, we are making positive steps in the fight against our number one killer — heart disease.

Laws like the CIAA also help make smoking seem less acceptable and accessible to our children. Smoking rates in high schools have dropped to 11.9 percent, according to the NYS Health Department. That’s down from 20.4 percent before the law was implemented.

We have made great progress, but there is still work to be done. More than 18 percent of New York adults still smoke, doing serious damage to their hearts. Join the American Heart Association as we continue to lead the fight for clean indoor air, because fresh air is so important to all our lives.

Jean Cacciabaudo, MD,

Chief of Cardiology, Southside Hospital

North Shore-LIJ Health System

American Heart Association Long Island Board President