The temperatures have finally plummeted in New York City and it feels like we might actually experience a real winter this time around. While snowfall and hot chocolate are fun perks of these darker, colder months, there are some less attractive elements of being cooped up indoors. One of them is experiencing more secondhand smoke exposure in your home, as smoking neighbors remain indoors to smoke instead of stepping outside into the cold and wet conditions.
As anyone who has experienced it knows, secondhand smoke from any source is not just annoying, it’s extremely harmful. At NYC Smoke-Free, we receive calls on a weekly basis from residents who are breathing in toxic tobacco smoke from neighbors. Oftentimes, callers are pregnant, post-partum, have small children, are in treatment for cancer, have a respiratory illness or are elderly, among many other conditions that make clean air in the home a critical quality of life factor for them.
What’s more, there are entire populations that continue to have higher secondhand smoke exposure rates, such as in communities of color and populations with limited income or education. Studies have found disturbing tobacco disparities in Chinese American, LGBT, and immigrant populations, with smoking rates up to three times higher than the general population. And when you consider that over half of New Yorkers are rent burdened and cannot afford to seek out and move to an apartment building that has smoke-free protections, this creates an extremely concerning situation for many.
That is why NYC Smoke-Free helps buildings create comprehensive smoke-free policies that help to protect the air in your home – a sacred space that should be the healthiest and safest environment possible for you and your family. This winter, we hope that you can enjoy the snowy views and hot chocolate while having the peace of mind that you’re breathing clean air as well.
For more information on NYC Smoke-Free or to lend support in ending NYC’s devastating tobacco epidemic please visit www.nycsmokefree.org. You can also contact Julia Cuthbertson, NYC Smoke-Free’s Brooklyn Community Engagement Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and get involved.
Julia Cuthbertson is the Brooklyn community engagement manager for NYC Smoke-Free, a program run by Public Health Solutions, a public health organization that conducts research and provides health services throughout the city.