Voluntary smoking ban on East Harlem block

June 10, 2011 1:37:32 PM PDT
If you want to smoke, don't come to East Harlem on 110th street between Park and Lexington, where there is a voluntary ban on outdoor smoking.

This is all a part of a new initiative by the Manhattan Smoke-Free Partnership and the East Harlem Asthma Center, which is located right on the block where the ban is located.

So far there have been fifteen businesses and one residential building that have signed on. They all agree to display the sign and create a smoke free zone that extends 15 feet from the entrance. If smoking 15 feet from the building puts you on the street, that basically bans smoking on the sidewalks.

In 2008, East Harlem had the highest rates of asthma-related hospital visits for kids between the ages of 5 to 14 - smoking is one trigger for the condition.

The voluntary ban will not be officially enforced, and some businesses who agreed to it, don't have the signs up. In fact, one has the sign next to another one that is promoting cigarettes. Many people even seem to be ignoring it altogether.

The Hellgate Post Office on the block did not sign the pledge, reportedly because many of the workers smoke outside.

"We are committed to our strong environmental and employee safety program," the government agency said in a statement.