On March 20, National Kick Butts Day, which supports a tobacco-free environment, NFTA Metro announced an enhanced no-smoking campaign for bus shelters and rail stations.  The announcement was made during an event held at Metro’s Main/Allen rail station, which included our Tobacco-Free Roswell Park team, as well as our public health partners from the County of Erie  and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Roswell Park’s Mark Travers, PhD, explains the health benefits Metro riders will experience with smoke-free air.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year.  The NFTA’s enhanced no-smoking campaign complements Erie County’s No-Smoking Ordinance, which prohibits smoking in public areas and will be heavily enforced by the NFTA Transit Police.

“We are putting everyone on notice today that our transit police will be stepping up from no-smoking warnings to writing citations.  Going forward anyone found smoking in restricted areas within our Metro system will be cited by law enforcement.  We are taking our role very seriously in helping to enforce the county ordinance and help protect our riders and the community we serve,” said TAPD Chief George Gast.

Our colleague, Mark  Travers, PhD, Research Scientist at Roswell Park  couldn’t be more encouraged by this news. He has devoted his career for providing scientific basis for smoke-free air policies and how being exposed to tobacco smoke is dangerous to our health.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, NFTA’s Helen Tederous, Transit Police Chief George Gast, TFWNY Director Anthony Billoni, and Mark Travers, PhD.

“It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to make sure community settings like bus and rail stops are free from secondhand smoke,” said Mark  “I applaud the NFTA as a cancer researcher, and I thank them as a parent for their steps to make sure our transportation system is clean and safe for our most vulnerable citizens—including our children and those struggling with lung disease, heart disease, and cancer, all caused by tobacco.”