Crossgates Mall Goes Tobacco Free

Pyramid Management Group owns and manages 15 malls in New York and Massachusetts, including Crossgates Mall in Albany. Those 15 malls are about to go 100 percent tobacco free.

That’s not to say they won’t be allowing smoking in the mall. That’s already a given. Instead, they’re tackling tobacco anywhere on the property. That’s entry points, sidewalks, parking lots and even construction sites, and it applies to everyone who might find themselves on the property.

The company has tested this policy at one center already. “The Carousel Center has been smoke free for almost 5 years now and thousands of visitors and their children have been protected from secondhand smoke,” said Sue Casanova, the project coordinator for Bridges to Prevent Tobacco. “Pyramid is showing once again that they are leaders in the industry. We encourage other mall owners to implement a tobacco free property policy as well.”

Pyramid plans to help mall employees obtain smoking cessation information and counseling, so no one should need to suffer under this policy unnecessarily. To help ease the transition, signage will be provided by local tobacco control coalitions to alert employees and shoppers about the new policy.

The ban covers all tobacco products—including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco—and “smokeable” alternatives like electronic cigarettes. Retailers that currently sell these products will be allowed to continue, but it won’t be permitted from new retailers.

While anti-tobacco advocates are thrilled with the new policy, some people aren’t. The Times-Herald Record reported on reactions to the upcoming change:

“There was an assortment of rants from smokers complaining about overreaction, the loss of individual rights and prohibition of a legal product. Others scoffed at the idea that any outdoor mall ban can be effectively enforced. One sarcastic smoker suggested smoking be banned rather than have further restrictions imposed — pure fantasy, given the enormous influence of the tobacco industry and the millions in tax money collected from cigarette sales.”

Pyramid seems confident the benefits outweigh the concerns, however.

“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 at Pyramid Management Group.

What do you think? Is Pyramid going too far, or is this something you’d like to see implemented at your center? If your center has already gone tobacco-free, how has the community responded?

  • Anonymous

    This is great news!  No more taking kids through a cloud of smokers to shop at the mall!  

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