March 20, 2012

The Saratogian

QUEENSBURY — Aviation Mall and Crossgates Mall are both going tobacco-free May 31.

Both malls are owned by Pyramid Management Group LLC, the company will ban smoking at all 15 of its properties in New York and Massachusetts by May 31, according to a press release issued by the company Tuesday.

“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.

Pyramid has been working with regional tobacco control partnerships funded by the NYS Tobacco Control Program and the American Cancer Society on implementation of the new policy.

“We congratulate Aviation Mall for launching a new healthy and safe environment free from the threat of secondhand smoke. Together with the communities of Glens Falls and Queensbury which have some of the strongest tobacco-free outdoor policies in the state, we are partnering to establish a region for families to work, play and now shop together without the danger that tobacco poses especially for our most vulnerable,” said Matthew Andrus, Communications Coordinator for the Southern Adirondack Tobacco-Free Coalition.

In addition to Aviation Mall and Crossgates Mall, other New York State malls covered by the new tobacco-free policy include:

Carousel Center – Syracuse (became smoke-free in 2007, will be tobacco-free)

Champlain Centre – Plattsburgh

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

Walden Galleria – Buffalo

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 policy, on Kick Butts Day (Wednesday, March 21st), members of Reality Check from Queensbury High School will be tabling at Aviation Mall from 2-5pm where they will be educating customers and youth alike on the ever present dangers of tobacco marketing found in retail stores and in the media.

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.