child I always enjoyed going to our Bronx
beaches and parks with my family. While affluent children enjoyed collecting
seashells by the seashore, I remember fondly picking up cigarette butts so
we could spell out our names with them.
Little did we know of the harms of secondhand smoke and the impact
discarded cigarette filters would have on our environment.
facts are indisputable and alarming.
Smoking kills more New Yorkers each year than
AIDS, drugs, homicide and suicide
combined, and the Bronx
has one of the highest rates of tobacco use in the city. Secondhand
smoke is a known Class A carcinogen. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke
can lead to more frequent asthma attacks in asthmatic children. Cigarette
butts are toxic, slow to decompose, costly to manage and growing in volume;
75 percent of the litter found on NYC beaches is cigarette butts, and
it takes over a year and a
half for a cigarette filter to decompose.
pleased to announce that NYC residents and policymakers are taking a strong
unified stand to protect our children and environment. In the fall, the City
Council introduced legislation to make our public parks and beaches
smoke-free. Highbridge Community Life Center, a community based organization
serving Bronx residents’ concerns and needs for over 30 years, has joined
the Bronx Smoke-Free Partnership in bringing awareness to the community and
its leadership about the dangers of secondhand smoke and the impact
cigarettes have on our parks and beaches. Indeed, Highbridge Life has
recently secured a unanimous vote by the Health Committee of Community Board
#4 for a “letter of support” to prohibit smoking from our public beaches and
With legislation in the works, our children could soon have the right to
play on beaches and in parks that are smoke-free and clean.