By Mark Hallum
North Shore Towers is going smoke-free after shareholders took a vote to banish the habit on the 110-acre premises.
The three building co-op located at 27240 Grand Central Pkwy. in Glen Oaks will ban lighting up in each of its 1,844 units.
Joel Bhuiyan, the Queens Community Engagement Coordinator of NYC SmokeFree; Nancy Copperman with Northwell Health; Stephen Beasley with the NYC Dept. of Health and Eileen Miller; and Phil Konigsberg, who comprise the Queens Tobacco Control Coalition, held a Dec. 19 news conference to announce the change.
The new bylaws will go into effect on Jan. 1 and North Shore Towers will become the largest co-op in the city to become smoke-free.
“By establishing a smoke-free environment, North Shore Towers’ residents have created one of the healthiest places to live in Queens,” said Copperman, assistant vice president of public health and community partnerships at Northwell Health. “Their partnership in promoting health and wellness supports Northwell Health’s population health initiatives.”
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and nearly 6 million people worldwide die from tobacco-related illness every year. There are 480,000 deaths per year in the United States from smoking, while 41,000 people die from the effects of second-hand smoke.
“When a board of directors works cooperatively and in the best interest of the community, it can accomplish miracles,” North Shore Towers board member Phyllis Goldstein said. “Their decision to attempt to safeguard the health of all its residents by making North Shore Towers a smoke-free cooperative was a caring, non-political initiative.”
The motion to ban smoking on the premises needed a two-thirds vote from co-op owners. It passed with 72 percent of the vote.
“North Shore Towers’ historic vote to go entirely smoke-free effective Jan. 1, 2017 ensures that its vibrant community of seniors, families and children will be protected from tobacco pollution anywhere on the grounds” Bhuiyan said. “We were thrilled to be help educate their residents on the dangers of second-hand smoke and the advantages of adopting a smoke-free policy, which in the end garnered overwhelming support.”
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) also delivered remarks at the news conference as well as Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens).
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall