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City Marks Decade Of Smoke-Free Bars And Restaurants

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The Bloomberg administration on Wednesday celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Air Act.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined members of the Coalition for a Smoke Free City at the Museum of the City of New York to commemorate the anniversary of the act, which made it illegal to smoke in city restaurants, bars and offices.

It was expanded in 2009 to ban smoking within 15 feet of hospitals, and again in 2011 to include city beaches and parks.

Health officials said it was a bold decision that has been highly successful.

"We have reduced smoking in our city by 31 percent in the last 10 years," Bloomberg said. "The cut in teenage smoking is by more than 50 percent. And that is one of the reasons why the life expectancy in New York City has gone up so dramatically. It is a little over two years longer than the average across America, and it is three years greater than it was when we came into office."

Earlier, Mayor Bloomberg marked the occasion at the Old Town Bar in Gramercy Park, whose owner was against the proposal when it was first introduced but is now glad the bar is smoke free.

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