New Rule Protects 18K Wisconsin Residents from Secondhand Smoke
(July 30, 2018) -
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Starting today, Wisconsin public housing residents will be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke through a new smokefree housing rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that goes into effect on this date, July 30.
To celebrate the new rule, the American Lung Association will host a national press conference today in Milwaukee at the Hillside Terrace Family Resource Center, 1452 N. 7th St. Joining them and public housing residents will be Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Linda Seemeyer; Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing; and other health officials.
“Secondhand smoke is a serious health threat, and can linger in rooms and even travel between homes in multi-unit housing,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the Lung Association. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and today we celebrate healthier families as public housing goes smokefree.”
Nationally, this rule will protect close to two million Americans nationwide from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, including 690,000 children. In Wisconsin, it protects more than 18,000 residents in local public housing agencies.
The 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.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life, and ensuring homes are free from the risks of secondhand smoke is a critical step for the health of residents,” said Wimmer. “This is especially true for children and those who are more vulnerable to the impact of second smoke, such as those living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Today we’re making a healthier future for Wisconsin and our country.”
In Wisconsin, the Lung Association is sharing best practices to implement smokefree housing policies with public housing authorities and providing free smoking cessation support to residents. This is part of the new Smokefree Public Housing Initiative, funded by the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation.
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.
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 and travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing and ventilation systems.
To schedule an interview with an expert about smokefree policies and the health benefits of smokefree spaces, contact James Martinez at [email protected]. Learn more about smokefree housing and success stories at Lung.org/smokefreehousing.
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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