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Public Housing Going Smokefree: American Lung Association in Maryland to Offer Quit Smoking Support to Residents

(November 13, 2017) -

In advance of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) smokefree housing rule requiring all public housing to be smokefree by July 31, 2018, the American Lung Association in Maryland, with support from the Amerigroup Foundation will offer support for residents trying to quit smoking. Through the Smoking Cessation for Low Income Housing Residents initiative the Lung Association will work with Public Housing Agencies and other local partners to provide smokers wanting to quit access to proven-effective tobacco cessation services such as Freedom From Smoking®.

"While we applaud the new smoke-free policy to protect the thousands of Maryland’s public housing residents from secondhand smoke, we also understand that quitting smoking can be difficult for those residents who smoke,” said Deborah P. Brown, Executive Vice President, American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.  “We are proud to partner with the Amerigroup Foundation to provide access to no cost quit smoking counseling and support – which is key to helping individuals overcome smoking addiction.”

Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Smoking can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and more. The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, which is why it can be so tough to quit smoking. On average, it takes a tobacco user eight to 11 attempts before they successfully become smokefree.

“As an organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our communities, we want to provide help and support for smokers who want to quit,” said Laura Herrera Scott, Amerigroup Maryland Managing Medical Director. “Our hope is that our partnership with the American Lung Association will serve as the first step in a process of offering guidance and support that helps people quit smoking and aligns with our state’s efforts to prevent tobacco-related illnesses.”

The American Lung Association will work with community partners to bring proven-effective tobacco cessation programs such as Freedom From Smoking® which has helped more than one million smokers quit. The Lung Association’s quit smoking program is offered in person, online and by phone and includes content on building a quit plan, medications that can aid quitting smoking, lifestyle changes that support quitting smoking, how to manage stress and how to overcome relapse and become smokefree for good.

"Quitting smoking was something I never thought I could do. I was an addict and got nervous just thinking about quitting! I tried, but couldn’t do it on my own.  The structured program offered by the American Lung Association is exactly what I needed. I was able to finally quit.  Now I feel better than ever, I have more confidence, and I am excited about the future. Freedom From Smoking gave me my life back,” said Wendell McMillan, Maryland resident.

To learn more about how to quit smoking, call the Lung Association’s toll-free Lung Helpline 1-800-LUNGUSA, or learn more about Freedom From Smoking® at

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