Your home could be next!
BY MICHAEL RICONDA
SUFFERN – Legislation is in the works in Albany which could impose a statewide ban on smoking in hotel rooms.
The bill, introduced late in August by Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, would expand the Clean Indoor Air Act to include hotel and motel guest rooms. The Clean Air Act currently exempts hotels along with private residences, cigar and tobacco shops, outdoor serving areas and tobacco industry events.
According to Zebrowski, the bill was analogous to prior amendments to the Clean Air Act which target smoking in public areas such as bars and restaurants.
“We’ve done a lot in the State of New York and across the nation over the past several decades to both discourage and help people quit and get them the help they need to live a healtheir life, but also to protect people from secondhand smoke,” Zebrowski said. “Really what it’s about is protecting people who are trapped in an environment and may have to experience the secondhand smoke of others.”
Zebrowski further stated the bill, which has gathered support from the American Lung Association of the Northeast and the American Heart Association of New York, was inspired by personal experiences in Albany hotels which often exposed patrons to secondhand smoke, even when it was limited to smoking rooms and cordoned off areas.
“One of the things I’ve noticed is that if you’re in a hotel that has smoking rooms, if you’re above, below, or to the side of a smoking room, that if someone is smoking with the ventilation systems it’s like someone is smoking in your own hotel room,” Zebrowski explained.
Similar statewide bans have been implemented in Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota and Vermont, Wisconsin. New York City hotels have largely prohibited smoking in their rooms, though there is no law requiring them to do so.
The Clean Air Act also applies to e-cigarettes, a type of portable device that uses vaporized glycerine as a delivery agent for nicotine. Earlier in September, Rockland voted to expand its definition of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes and similarly restricting their use in public areas.
The bill still needs a Senate sponsor, but has already gathered some support from sympathetic senators. Assemblywoman Sandy Galef of Ossining has already been named as a potential co-sponsor.