Hawaii Residents Living in Public Housing Now Protected from Secondhand Smoke Exposure
(July 30, 2018) - HONOLULU
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There’s no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and now the people of Hawaii who live in public housing are protected by a new smokefree housing rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that goes into effect today.
“Today we’re creating a healthier future for the state of Hawaii and our nation,” said Kahala Howser, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Hawaii. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life. Ensuring homes are free from the risks of secondhand smoke is a critical step for the health of residents.”
Secondhand smoke is a serious health threat and can linger in rooms and even travel between homes in multi-unit housing. Children and people living with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more vulnerable to the impact of secondhand smoke.
In November 2016, HUD announced a rule requiring all federally-owned public housing to become smokefree 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.
The American Lung Association celebrates this long-awaited health protection, following more than a decade of advocacy for the passage of the rule as well as support for the implementation of smokefree housing policies in local public housing authorities. In Hawaii, it means protections for thousands of residents in local public housing agencies.
“Today we celebrate this important step to protect health of people in Hawaii, and we know we’ll see the health benefits for years to come,” said Howser.
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 (e.g., apartment buildings and condominiums), secondhand smoke can be a major concern even if people don’t smoke in your unit, as smoke can migrate from other units and common areas.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about local smokefree public housing, secondhand smoke or lung health, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected]or 206-512-3292.
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: Lung.org.
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