On Wednesday Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law to protect New York’s youth from harmful effects of cigarettes.

The new law increases by 100 feet smoke-free areas surrounding schools.

President and CEO of the American lung association of the northeast, Jeff Seyler said in a statement:

“We are pleased that New York has taken another step forward in its efforts to protect its residents from secondhand smoke. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and the legislature, as the school year begins, a newly expanded smoke-free area will surround our schools. Increasing the smoke-free areas by 100 feet at public and private preschools, elementary schools and secondary schools will provide healthier environments for our children to learn.”

Secondhand smoke is linked to 50,000 American deaths each year. Tobacco smoke is a known asthma trigger, and this law could mean the difference between having an asthma attack or not for those individuals forced to be in close contact with secondhand smoke while simply walking into or out of school.

The new law takes effect immediately.

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