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American Lung Association in Wisconsin Commends HUD’s Plan to Make Public Housing Smokefree

The American Lung Association in Wisconsin strongly supports HUD’s rule and stands by to assist public housing authorities that go smokefree.

(November 30, 2016) - Brookfield, WI

For more information please contact:

Dona Wininsky
[email protected]
(262) 703-4840

The American Lung Association in Wisconsin applauds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its announcement today that will require all public housing agencies to go smokefree. This rule will protect two million Americans, across the country, from exposure to secondhand smoke in their homes. This includes those most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke, including 760,000 children and more than 300,000 adults over the age of 62. The policies apply to residential units as well as common areas.

“Smokefree housing is a win-win – residents breathe better and it costs housing authorities less when their buildings are smokefree. We are glad to see smokefree housing which has been so successful here in Wisconsin be expanded nationwide,” said Linda Witucki. “Home should be a place safe from the risks of secondhand smoke exposure,” said Linda Witucki. “The American Lung Association welcomes this life-saving announcement that will protect so many from those risks, especially the most vulnerable – children, the elderly, low-income Americans and those with chronic lung disease.”

The Wisconsin Clear Gains program, a collection of statewide organizations that provides support and guidance to Wisconsin's smoke-free housing initiative administered by the Lung Association has been proactively working with housing authorities around the state to assist them in the transition. Efforts have included educating residents and managers, establishing boundaries, offering cessation resources and providing timelines and documents to facilitate the process. Presently, of Wisconsin’s 130 local housing authorities, 73* already offer at least one building that is smoke free. The remainder will have 18 months to fully implement the policy.

Going smoke free will make breathing considerably easier for people with asthma and other lung disease. Scientific research has demonstrated that up to 60 percent of the air in multi-unit housing is recycled between apartments. Even residents who don’t allow any smoking in their living quarters frequently experience unhealthy levels of secondhand smoke intruding from neighboring units. In 2005 the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) stated, “The only means of effectively eliminating health risks associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.”

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Across the U.S., more than 41,000 deaths per year and a wide array of damaging health effects are caused or made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma. Asthma has a disproportionate impact on 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 frequent asthma attacks and more and longer hospitalizations as a result.

“Because there’s no effective way to prevent smoke from travelling from one unit to another, the only way to fully protect residents of multi-unit housing from secondhand smoke, is for their building to go 100 percent smokefree,” said Linda Witucki. “To help in this process, the Lung Association stands ready with tools and resources to help public housing authorities go smokefree.”

More than 600 public housing authorities nationwide have already gone smokefree, protecting their residents and reducing the risk of fires and costs to property owners. The Lung Association continues to assist housing authorities, property owners and residents who are acting voluntarily to make their public housing smokefree, and has also created resources to assist property owners and residents, including an online course, fact sheets and policy briefs, which can be found at

*Wisconsin Housing Authorities with at least one smokefree building:

  1. Abbotsford HA
  2. Albany HA
  3. Algoma HA
  4. Altoona HA
  5. Amery HA
  6. Antigo HA
  7. Appleton Housing Authority
  8. Ashland County HA
  9. Ashland HA
  10. Baraboo CDA
  11. Barron County HA
  12. Beloit Housing Authority
  13. Chetek HA
  14. Chilton HA
  15. Chippewa County HA
  16. Cumberland HA
  17. De Pere HA
  18. Dodge County HA 
  19. Edgerton HA 
  20. Evansville HA 
  21. Fond Du Lac County HA 
  22. Fond Du Lac HA 
  23. Frederic HA 
  24. Green Bay HA 
  1. Greenwood HA 
  2. Hillsboro HA 
  3. Hudson HA 
  4. Juneau County HA 
  5. Kaukauna HA 
  6. Lacrosse County HA 
  7. Ladysmith HA 
  8. Luck HA 
  9. Marathon HA 
  10. Marinette HA 
  11. Marshfield HA 
  12. Menomonie HA 
  13. Merill HA 
  14. Monroe HA 
  15. New London HA 
  16. Oconto HA 
  17. Osceola HA 
  18. Oshkosh Housing Authority 
  19. Outagamie County HA 
  20. Park Falls HA 
  21. Peshtigo HA 
  22. Plymouth HA 
  23. Polk County HA 
  24. Portage County HA 
  25. Prairie Du Chien HA 
  1. Prescott HA (River Falls HA) 
  2. Pulaski CDA 
  3. Reedsville HA 
  4. Rhinelander HA 
  5. Rice Lakes HA 
  6. Richland Center HA 
  7. River Falls HA 
  8. Sauk County HA 
  9. Sawyer County HA 
  10. Shawano County HA 
  11. Shawano HA 
  12. Sparta HA 
  13. Spooner HA 
  14. Trempealeau County HA 
  15. Viroqua HA 
  16. Washburn County HA
  17. Watertown HA 
  18. Wausau HA 
  19. West Bend HA 
  20. Westby HA 
  21. Winnebago County Housing Authority 
  22. Wisconsin Rapids HA


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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