Today marks another New York City milestone. Homeowners in Zeckendorf Towers, the 647-unit building that led the revitalization of Union Square more than 20 years ago, voted overwhelmingly to become the largest private smoke-free residential property–including condominium, cooperative and rental buildings—in New York City, and possibly the entire nation.
The building’s board first began to explore going smoke-free in 2010, following numerous complaints from residents about cigarette smoke. After confirming that they could legally prohibit smoking by amending the building’s bylaws, the board partnered with the Manhattan Smoke-Free Partnership, part of the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City, that supports the efforts of buildings adopting smoke-free policies.
Smoke-free housing is a growing national trend, and we congratulate the board and management company of Zeckendorf Towers on this landmark move. We hope that their example will inspire other buildings throughout our city to go smoke-free and improve the health of New Yorkers.
97.5 percent of Manhattan homes are in a multi-unit building (3+ units), and 70 percent of all New York City homes are in multi-unit housing, the highest concentration in the country. Up to 65 percent of the air in such buildings is shared between units, and studies confirm that secondhand smoke travels between apartments and floors. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure.
“I am thrilled that such a large majority of my neighbors voted to make our building a healthier, safer, and more pleasant place to live,” said Andrea York, a homeowner at Zeckendorf Towers who voted in favor of the smoke-free policy. “It feels great to know that I can sit in my living room and sleep in my bedroom with clean air again. Just like smokers have the right to smoke, non-smokers have the right to not inhale their smoke. Smokers can still be free to smoke but now they have to be a bit more concerned about where they do it. It feels great to sit in my living room and sleep in my bedroom with clean air again.”
We believe all New Yorkers have a right to breathe clean, smoke-free air where they live, work and play.