American Academy of Pediatrics and American Lung Association Applaud New Smoke-Free Housing Toolkits from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Washington, DC (June 19, 2012)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Lung Association are pleased to support new smoke-free housing toolkits released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The toolkits provide residents and owners of federally assisted public and multifamily housing units with educational materials, organizing tools, public health notices and resources on how to create healthier housing by reducing secondhand smoke exposure.

“The healthiest home for a child is a smoke-free home,” said AAP President Robert W. Block, MD, FAAP. “Our nation’s pediatricians welcome today’s commitment by the administration to provide families with the tools they need to keep their children healthy and safe where they live.”

Secondhand smoke causes nearly 50,000 deaths a year. In children, secondhand smoke exposure is associated with increased rates of lower respiratory illness, middle-ear infections, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, cough, asthma and asthma exacerbations, hospitalizations, and sudden infant death syndrome.

“The U.S. Surgeon General has declared there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Charles D. Connor. “As organizations dedicated to reducing the death and disease related to tobacco use, the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics commend the administration’s action today to protect children and adults living in low-income, multifamily housing from the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke.”

A January 2011 Pediatrics study found that among children who live in households where no one smokes inside, those who live in apartments have a 45 percent increase in cotinine levels (a common marker of tobacco smoke exposure) compared with children who live in detached homes.

“Smokers have a choice about where they smoke, but infants and children don't choose where they sleep,” said Dr. Block. “Even in a smoke-free unit, smoke can seep in though the air ducts, under doors and through walls. The smoke-free toolkits released today go a long way toward helping families keep their homes healthy, safe and smoke free.”

Public housing residents are likely to be members of vulnerable populations and unlikely to have the financial means to move to healthier environments: 38 percent are children, 31 percent are seniors, 30 percent are disabled, and 89 percent are classified by HUD as “very low income.”

“Making multifamily housing smoke free is the only way to fully protect some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens from secondhand smoke, as well as other dangers, including smoking-related fires.  We encourage all property owners, managers and residents to make the critical transition to becoming smoke free,” said Connor.

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About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.