HUD Proposes to Protect More than One Million Americans Living in Multi-Unit Housing from Harms of Secondhand Smoke | American Lung Association

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HUD Proposes to Protect More than One Million Americans Living in Multi-Unit Housing from Harms of Secondhand Smoke

(November 12, 2015) -

For more information please contact:

Amanda Lenhard

ANCHORAGE:  The American Lung Association in Alaska applauds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its proposal to require all public housing agencies to implement smokefree policies for all residential units and common areas. When finalized, this rule will protect more than one million Americans from secondhand smoke exposure in their homes, including 760,000 children and over 300,000 adults over the age of 62.

There are already 27 states with smokefree housing authorities and in 2010 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memo to their rental assistance program recipients on how to adopt smokefree policies. American Lung Association in Alaska and the Alaska Smoke-free Housing Partnership has been working with Alaska housing authorities since then. Alaska currently has 8 tribal housing authorities with smokefree policies for some or all their properties:

  • Cook Inlet Housing Authority
  • Aleutian Housing Authority
  • North Pacific Rim Housing Authority
  • Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority
  • Bristol Bay Housing Authority
  • Northwest Inupiat Housing
  • Bering Strait Regional Housing Authority
  • Baranof Island Housing Authority

The site launched earlier this year to provide resources for building owners, landlords, and tenants regarding smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing. The website includes a searchable database for Alaskans to find smokefree multi-unit housing in their community. Currently, the searchable database has 144 properties in 44 cities including 24 housing authorities/management companies.

The U.S. Surgeon General has stated there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke migrates from other units and common areas and travels through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines and plumbing and ventilation systems. Up to 65% of air in apartments can come from other units.

Exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, causing more than 41,000 deaths per year in the United States. Secondhand smoke can cause or make worse a wide range of health issues in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma. Asthma disproportionately impacts low-income residents living in federally subsidized housing and exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger asthma exacerbations. Children with asthma are especially sensitive to secondhand smoke, and may suffer from more asthma attacks and more hospitalizations as a result.


About the American Lung Association in Alaska

The mission of the American Lung Association (ALA) is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, the American Lung Association’s focus today has expanded to include all lung disease; such as asthma, COPD, and lung cancer, as well as a focus on tobacco prevention and both indoor and outdoor air quality issues that can threaten the air we breathe. The American Lung Association in Alaska (ALAA) coordinates and facilitates the state wide Alaska Smoke-free Housing Partnership (ASHP) and believes that everyone has the right to breathe clean air. For more information about the American Lung Association in Alaska or to support the work it does, call (907) 276-5864 or visit

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