Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Officials at Pyramid Management Group, LLC, owner and operator of 15 shopping malls throughout New York State and Massachusetts on Tuesday announced that all of their properties will be 100 percent tobacco-free on May 31, 2012.
This new policy includes Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga. Pyramid has been working with regional tobacco control coalitions funded by the NYS Tobacco Control Program and the American Cancer Society on implementation of the new policy.
According to a news release:
"We strongly believe this new policy will not only support our employees and guests who are sensitive to secondhand smoke or are trying to quit smoking, but it also will provide a more enjoyable and healthier shopping experience to the millions of visitors who come through our doors each year," said James L. Soos, Director of Asset Management, Pyramid Management Group..
The tobacco-free policy includes any and all tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco) and any other similar substances or instruments that are lit or burning such as electronic cigarettes. This tobacco-free policy is inclusive of entire properties, both inside and outside, including all entry points, hallways, sidewalks, loading dock areas, parking lots and construction areas. It applies to all mall associates, tenant employees, vendors, delivery people, contractors, subcontractors and guests.
"We welcome this announcement just in time for the Kick Butts Day celebration at Walden Galleria," said Anthony Billoni, Director of the Erie Niagara Tobacco Free Coalition at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). "Walden Galleria is a role model for other businesses and organizations throughout the community."
In addition to Walden Galleria, other New York State malls covered by the new tobacco-free policy will include:
Aviation Mall - Queensbury
Carousel Center - Syracuse (became smoke-free in 2007, will become tobacco free)
Champlain Centre - Plattsburgh
Crossgates Mall - Albany
Galleria at Crystal Run - Middletown
Palisades Center - West Nyack
Poughkeepsie Galleria - Poughkeepsie
Salmon Run Mall - Watertown
Sangertown Square - New Hartford
The Shops at Ithaca Mall - Ithaca
Massachusetts malls include:
Berkshire Mall - Lanesborough
Independence Mall - Kingston
Hampshire Mall - Hadley
Holyoke Mall at Ingleside - Holyoke
"This policy means shoppers and their kids won't have to walk a gauntlet of harmful secondhand smoke just to enter a mall," said Alvaro Carrascal, Senior Vice President of Cancer Control, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ. "Secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen with no safe level of exposure. Mall employees who smoke also will benefit from on-site resources that will help them quit."
To raise awareness of the new tobacco-free policy, all are invited to stop by Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga for a Kick Butts Day celebration and Youth Health Expo on the mall's lower level near Apple Computer from 3 pm to 7 pm on Wednesday, March 21. Kick Butts Day is a fun way to give people valuable information about the dangers of tobacco use and how to quit. It also is a chance for young people to take a stand and say "We've Seen Enough" tobacco marketing.
• A graffiti wall where young people can artfully express their thoughts on a tobacco-free community, sponsored by the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition.
• Cold turkey samples for those who "go cold turkey" by turning in a pack of cigarettes or signing a pledge to be tobacco free, offered by Subway.
• Healthy lifestyle information and health care coaches from the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross serving Erie & Niagara Counties, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, RPCI and YMCA Buffalo Niagara.
• Additional sponsors: Auntie Annie's Pretzels, the Buffalo Bisons, Dairy Queen and Mrs. Fields Cookies.
Pyramid will be providing opportunities for mall employees to obtain smoking cessation information and counseling. Signage provided by the local tobacco control coalitions will be posted around mall property to alert employees and shoppers about the new policy.
The first mall in the Pyramid family to go smoke-free was the Carousel Center in Syracuse in 2007. Successful implementation at that facility led to the corporate-wide expansion of the policy. With implementation of the new policy, Carousel Center will become tobacco-free.
For more information about the new policy, go to pyramidmg.com.