It was ten years ago this week that New York State began its ban on smoking in virtually all indoor work places. Advocates are hailing the legislation as a true public health victory.
In the decade since the state has banned indoor smoking, the number of New Yorkers who light up has dropped dramatically. The youth smoking rate is now 11 %. Sixteen percent of adults still smoke.
Michael Seilback, spokesman for the American Lung Association, says the ban has resulted in a cultural shift, where smoking is no longer considered sexy.
Seilback says initial concerns about a loss of business in bars and restaurants proved to be unfounded. "New Yorkers go to bars and restaurants as much if not more than before. And those days of going out and having to come home and put your clothes outdoors or in the washing machine are over."
Seilback says data from the State Health Department shows that in the first three years of the smoking ban, heart attacks dropped by 15 percent.