ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--AFTER SMOKE FROM CANADA BLANKETED THE SOUTHERN TIER AROUND THIS TIME LAST YEAR – AIR QUALITY HAS increasingly BECOME A MAJOR ISSUE.

NOW STATE LEADERS ARE ENCOURAGING NEW YORKERS TO BE AIR QUALITY AWARE AS THE WARMER MONTHS OF SUMMER ARRIVE.  
 
JIM MCDONALd, THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, STRESSED THAT WITH CLIMATE CHANGE GETTING WORSE AND WORSE -- IT'S IMPORTANT FOR NEW YORKERS TO DEVELOP HEALTHY HABITS DURING THE SUMMER.  
THE COMMISSIONER ENCOURAGED NEW YORKERS TO ESTABLISH A ROUTINE– AND JUST LIKE CHECKING THE WEATHER EACH MORNING – HE recommended STARTING EACH DAY BY CHECKING AIRNOW.GOV TO HELP PEOPLE MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR PLANS FOR THE DAY.  
 
“People developing healthy habits really can help us stay healthy and enjoy our beautiful New York summer,”  he said. 
 
MCDONALD SAid THE HIGHER THE air quality INDEX, THE MORE VULNERABLE NEW YORKERS CAN BECOME BY SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME OUTSIDE.  
 
AND IT CAN BE EVEN WORSE FOR PEOPLE WITH respiratory ISSUES OR WHO ARE immunocompromised.
 
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION COMMISSIONER ADDED THAT ALL NEW YORKERS SHOULD SIGN UP FOR THE DEPARTMENT’S AIR QUALITY ALERTS AND ADVISORIES.