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Queens Chronicle

Apartment complex will be smoke-free

Macedonia Plaza in Flushing hailed for decision; set to open in March

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:56 am, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

With an eye to keeping tenants healthy, officials from the Macedonia Community Development Corp. announced last week that its under-construction affordable housing building in Flushing will be smoke-free when it opens next year.

The corporation is a subsidiary of the Macedonia AME Church, which is building the 142-unit building next door at Union Street and 37th Avenue, in Municipal Parking Lot 1.

The 14-story building will include a combination of studio one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. It is scheduled to open next March.

“We are proud to take a stand and provide a tobacco-free environment for the soon-to-be residents of Macedonia Plaza,” said the Rev. Richard McEachern, pastor of the church. “This development will not only bring affordable housing to the area, but it will help to protect the health of residents by limiting their exposure to the adverse effects of secondhand smoke.”

He and others gathered outside the construction site last week to discuss the initiative. The minister said he began to explore a smoke-free policy after meeting with Phil Konigsberg of Bay Terrace, who is also with the Queens Tobacco Control Coalition and a strong advocate for smoke-free environments.

Macedonia then partnered with the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership. According to Yvette Buckner, borough manager of the partnership, smoke-free housing is a growing trend. She noted that recently, Hilltop Village in Hollis, a 200-unit market-rate housing complex, went smoke-free. Smaller properties in Jackson Heights, Corona and Woodhaven have also added policies to prevent smoking in their buildings.

Buckner added that Flushing has one of the highest smoking rates in Queens and called Macedonia’s plan “a bold step” to reduce secondhand smoke exposure for Flushing residents.

“We hope Macedonia Plaza will inspire other buildings throughout Queens to go smoke-free and improve the health of our borough,” she said.

Buckner pointed out that smoking and secondhand smoke can worsen health conditions such as heart disease and respiratory problems, with exposure especially dangerous for children. She added that secondhand smoke is also documented to contain more than 4,000 chemicals and at least 250 of them are known to be harmful and more than 50 cause cancer.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who attended, noted that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the country and smoke-free housing reduces exposure to secondhand smoke and the chronic health issues that accompany it.

“Now residents don’t have to worry about harmful and dangerous smoke seeping through windows, walls or floorboards and can be confident that the air in their homes will be clean and healthy,” Stavisky added.

Macedonia Plaza is the first project to be built on the Municipal Parking Lot. Eventually, the rest of the property will be converted to a large mixed-use development.

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1 comment:

  • AudreySilk posted at 4:56 am on Fri, Sep 27, 2013.

    AudreySilk Posts: 1

    Big Anti-Smoker are the most intellectually dishonest bunch of crusaders in modern history. Our coffee has at least 17 known carcinogens in it. Our food is full of them. The sun is a Class A carcinogen. Cooking food creates polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). "As a pollutant, they are of concern because some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. PAHs are also found in cooked foods. Studies have shown that high levels of PAHs are found, for example, in meat cooked at high temperatures such as grilling or barbecuing, and in smoked fish." (source Wikipedia) It's not just in the food but airborne.

    But there's no need for alarm (or rather, it should be asked, where's the alarm?) because all of those things are associated with the fundamental rule of toxicology: the dose makes the poison. Tobacco smoke is no different. It is NOT some "one thing" that defies the laws of toxicology or physics. It no more travels through windows and walls and outlets, seeking to bring death to anyone that encounters a molecule (if they even do), than someone's steak grilling in/on their stove or the sun shining through one's window (or, in this case, shining on someone else's window and bouncing back into yours).

    Anti-smokers can throw out the scary words "toxic" and "carcinogenic" and all the numbers they want. "4000 chemicals" means squat except to the ignorant public they prey upon with their perversion tactics. An equivalent example they want you to believe by just using a word is bankrupt of any ethics. For instance, people "drown" in water. "Drown" is a scary bad word. And "water" in this case is bad. But it takes a lot of water for someone to drown in. So all they need to say is "drown" and "water." But the parallel would be that they're asking you to take it all the way to "if you get caught in the rain without your umbrella" it means you were exposed to water and will have drowned.

    The only people being harmed in the most indecent and inhumane way are the elderly and disabled who want to smoke but who are immobile and/or infirm and either have great difficulty going outside or can't at all and, if they can, are forced to be exposed to extreme colds and heats. For a lie. Shame on the church. It's the most uncharitable thing they could do. Just ask the 90 year old war veteran in Michigan who just had to fight his housing board over smoking. How dare any of you.

    And the answer "they should just quit" is equally mean-spirited. It's none of anyone's business and shouldn't have your morals shoved down their throats. They WANT to smoke and that's their own informed choice to make. Cigarettes CAN be taken or left but this tyranny cannot ("smoke and risk eviction") Who really is acting like the master? The day anyone can show me a tobacco company executive literally physically shoving a cigarette into someone's mouth then I'll say it's them and not the people mentioned in this article.