Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. recently announced that more than 15,000 students throughout his district have signed on to his annual Summertime Reading Program. Fuschillo's reading program encourages students to read at least three books during the summer months other than those required for school.
According to the senator, children who sign up for his Summertime Reading program will receive a "Summertime Reading Passport" to keep track of the books they read and encourage them to use the program as their "passport" to a world of learning and imagination. When completed, children can send their Reading Passport to Fuschillo and they will be awarded a special NYS Senate certificate.
"As parents of young children, my wife and I encourage our children to not only be physically active during the summer months through outdoor activities, but to also take the time to expand their knowledge and imaginations through reading," Fuschillo said. "Reading is a great habit for children to start and I want to help encourage them in ways that they will discover its rewards."
Fuschillo has presented his program to all elementary schools within the 8th Senate District. To receive a Summertime Reading Passport packet, call Fuschillo at 546-4100 or email him at Fuschill@senate.state.ny.us.
Senator Fuschillo, member of the Senate Health Committee, recently announced that he has introduced legislation to strengthen New York State's Clean Indoor Air Act by making food service establishments, regardless of size, smoke free.
Endorsed by the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Medical Society of the State of NY, Center for a Tobacco Free New York and other health related organizations, Fuschillo's legislation would require restaurants without bars, regardless of size, to be smoke free unless a separate enclosed room is available for smokers. The smoking room would be required to have a separate ventilation system that would carry the air outside of the building. Smoking would be allowed in the bar area of a restaurant as long as it is separated from the dining area by at least a six-foot space or by a floor to ceiling partition.
New York State's Clean Indoor Air Act currently exempts restaurants with seating for under 51 patrons. Otherwise, restaurants must establish a contiguous nonsmoking area sufficient to meet customer demand, but the restaurant is not required to exceed 70 percent of its seating capacity as a nonsmoking area.
According to the Center for a Tobacco Free New York, smoke from the burning end of a cigarette has more toxins than smoke inhaled by the smoker. Some chemicals in secondhand smoke include formaldehyde, cyanide, arsenic, ammonia and carbon monoxide.
In a memorandum of support, the Medical Society of the State of New York said Fuschillo's legislation "would more adequately protect individuals from the health risks associated with secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke poses a significant health risk to those individuals in a confined indoor area. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen. It is estimated that 53,000 nonsmokers are killed each year due to related illnesses from secondhand smoke. Recent studies have concluded that ventilation alone does not remove carcinogens from the air. In addition, there is documentation that secondhand smoke also exacerbates allergies and asthma in children and adults."
"Studies show that smoke-filled rooms can have up to six times the pollution of a crowded highway," Fuschillo said. "If nonsmokers and children should wish to dine at a restaurant, they should not be subjected to secondhand smoke toxins in the air."
"Restaurants are more than places we go to socialize with family and friends, they are also workplaces," said Don Distasio, CEO of the American Cancer Society. "Why should choosing to work in a restaurant mean you are putting your health at risk."
In a memorandum of support, the American Heart Association stated that Fuschillo's legislation strengthens New York State's Clean Indoor Air law and further protects the public from dangers of secondhand smoke. In 1992, the American Heart Association's Council on Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care concluded that secondhand smoke is a major preventable cause of cardiovascular disease and death. At least 40 known carcinogens and 4,000 chemicals exist in secondhand smoke and the American Heart Association believes that legislators should act immediately to adopt legislation to increase smoke-free environments.
"The evidence is overwhelming that secondhand smoke is an intrusion upon other people's health and well being," Fuschillo said. "By raising the standards of New York State's Clean Indoor Air Act, we will help protect children and nonsmokers from unnecessary secondhand smoke exposure in restaurants."