The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Monday that Ohio residents in public housing will be protected from secondhand smoke by a new smoke-free housing rule.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life, and ensuring homes are free from the risks of secondhand smoke is a critical step for the health of residents,” said American Lung Association Health Promotion Specialist Julian Collins MS, CHES. “This is especially true for children and those who are more vulnerable to the impact of secondhand smoke, such as those living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Today we’re making a healthier future for Ohio and our nation.”
In November 2016, HUD announced a rule requiring all federally-owned public housing to become smoke-free by July 30, 2018. This rule will protect close to two million Americans nationwide from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, including 690,000 children.
In Ohio, the American Lung Association is currently working with four housing authorities and branching out to other HUD-funded housing including those at the Volunteers of America and Salvation Army. In addition, the ALA is currently working with health organizations that have clinics in local income-based housing communities.
HUD provides public housing authority residents who participate in Freedom From Smoking cessation clinics with kits which offers stress reduction tools tips and reminders to help them go smoke-free.
Secondhand smoke exposure poses serious health threats to both children and adults. Damaging health effects in children and adults include lung cancer, respiratory infections, worsened asthma symptoms, heart attacks, and stroke. For residents of multi-unit housing, secondhand smoke can be a major concern even if people don’t smoke in an individual’s unit, as smoke can migrate from other units and common areas and travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems.
American Lung Association materials on smoke-free housing can be found at Lung.org/smokefreehousing.