4 Steps to Making Your Building Smoke-Free

In April of 2017 the Health Department launched a new media campaign educating New Yorkers on the dangers of secondhand smoke at home and encouraging them to make their home smoke-free. The media campaign ran through May 21 on bus shelters, in newspapers, on the Staten Island Ferry and on television. The video version of the campaign is available below.

Continuing the momentum of this campaign, smoke-free housing benefits everyone. For owners, there is less property damage and fewer turnover costs. Also, the lower risk of a fire can potentially lead to savings on insurance.

For residents, the air is cleaner and healthier in their homes, as well as in common areas, such as hallways, lobbies and stairwells.

Want to make your building smoke-free?

Here are 4 steps to get you started:

  1. Decide the policy. Do you want the entire building and all common areas to be smoke-free, or just apartments and indoor areas? You can involve residents in the process, possibly through a survey.
  2. Educate residents. Distribute a letter or notice to make sure everyone follows the new rules. This notice should include:
  • Policy details
  • Benefits of the rule
  • Effective date
  • Resources for quitting smoking
  1. Add the rule to leases. In addition to adding the rule to new leases, you can also amend current leases during renewal, or if a resident voluntarily agrees to a lease change.
  2. Enforce the rule. You should post signs, remove ashtrays and smoking litter, and start discussing the rule to prospective tenants.

For more information contact smokefree.housing@health.nyc.gov, visit nyc.gov and search “smoke-free housing,” or visit NYC Smoke-Free’s website: http://nycsmokefree.org/issues/housing-inequality.


Health Department Launches Media Campaign on Dangers of Secondhand Smoke at Home

April 27, 2017 – The Health Department today launched a new media campaign educating New Yorkers on the dangers of secondhand smoke at home and encouraging them to make their home smoke-free. Secondhand smoke can enter apartments or common areas through shared ventilation systems, air spaces, windows and hallways.

Approximately 35 percent of New Yorkers report smelling smoke in their home coming from another apartment or outside. Adult non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke have higher risks of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. Children exposed to secondhand smoke have higher risks of asthma attacks, respiratory illnesses, middle ear disease and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The media campaign will run through May 21 on bus shelters, in newspapers, on the Staten Island Ferry and on television. The video version of the campaign is available here.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “If your neighbor smokes, the smoke can enter your apartment and put you and your family at higher risk of tobacco-related illnesses like heart disease and cancer. I encourage New Yorkers to make their homes smoke-free.”

This media campaign is aligned with the recent smoke-free rule passed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which will require public housing authorities nationwide, including the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), to adopt smoke-free policies.

What can New Yorkers do?

  • Let your landlord or managing agent know you support going 100 percent smoke-free in your building.
  • If you are a tenant, do not smoke or allow visitors to smoke in your home.
  • If you are exposed to secondhand smoke in your building from other tenants, document the problem and speak to your owner or managing agent and neighbor. Consider a friendly, constructive approach and try to suggest solutions.

If you smoke and want to quit, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit nysmokefree.com for help. For more information on smoke-free housing, search “smoke-free housing” on nyc.gov/health. This media campaign is made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Educators Learn About the Benefits of School Gardens at the Second Annual Staten Island School Garden Summit

For the second year in a row The Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW) and the New York City Department of Education joined forces to promote healthy eating and a love of gardening among school children throughout the borough by targeting a key audience – educators. The Second Annual School Garden Summit, which was held on March 17 at the Michael J. Petrides School, provided educators and administrators with the knowledge to start, expand, and sustain a school garden.

“It’s all about inspiring schools to plant gardens; plant vegetable gardens,” said Jody Stoll, project manager at SIPCW. “This is all about having kids become healthier through eating healthier. And you know what? Kids will eat what they grow.”

The 2017 School Garden Summit boasted twice as many participants as the 2016 Garden Summit, with over 120 principals, teachers, and school faculty members attending from 30 schools. Interactive sessions focused on using gardens to enhance STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum, acquiring grants and resources, learning garden management basics, and participating in healthy food demonstrations.

In addition to the breakout sessions, attendees heard students from P.S. 45, P.S. 46, P.S. 57, and P.S. 80 present the projects they’ve worked on to improve health and wellness in their schools. In an inspiring address, keynote speaker Kathy Soll, of Teens for Food Justice, spoke to attendees about the role that young people can play in combatting food insecurity and poor nutrition. Giveaways included seeds and planting calendars to guide schools on when to plant and harvest.

“I think people really got to learn a lot and learn how to bring things back to their own schools,” said Petrides Principal Joanne Buckheit, who graciously hosted the event. “They got to see what’s happening in other schools – to see how excited kids could be about this work.”

The Staten Island School Garden Summit is a program of the Staten Island Child Wellness Initiative. Led by SIPCW, the Child Wellness Initiative aims to improve child health and wellness on Staten Island by addressing access and opportunities for active living, availability and affordability of fresh healthy food, and community-wide partnerships that shape children’s home, school, recreational, and healthcare environments.

Studies show that school gardens help children learn to love healthy food. Children who understand how to grow their own food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. School gardens help instill healthy habits in kids that can affect them for a lifetime.

“We think we’ve found a secret bullet here to fight childhood obesity,” said Stoll.

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Education Professionals Invited to Go Green for Gardens at 2nd Annual Staten Island Garden Summit

Teachers, sustainability coordinators, parent coordinators and garden champions: it’s your lucky day!

The Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW) and the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) invite you to the 2nd Annual Staten Island Garden Summit on St. Patrick’s Day—Friday, March 17, 2017. This interactive Professional Learning Opportunity will give you the tools to start, expand or sustain your school’s garden.

At Petrides Campus, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from several interactive workshops on the following topics:

    • STEAM: Inspire students by integrating your garden into STEAM curriculum
    • RESOURCES: Learn about funding and grant opportunities for school gardens
    • HEALTHY FOODS: Participate in healthy food demonstrations and learn about Garden-to-Café programs
    • PLANTING PLUS: Interact with local farmers and learn about planting, composting, irrigation systems, soil testing, summer sustainability planning and harvesting

In addition to the useful information and hands-on training, you’ll also receive plants, seeds, raffle opportunities and other great giveaways. A light lunch will be graciously provided by The Michael J. Petrides School.

Concerned about leaving your school short staffed? Don’t worry – D31 funding for substitute teachers is available.

RSVP today for this fun, informative event, by visiting our EventBrite invitation.

Questions or comments? Contact Jody Stoll (SIPCW) or Stephanie Caloir (NYC DOE.)