Arkansas Families Living in Public Housing Now Protected from Secondhand Smoke Exposure
(July 30, 2018) - LITTLE ROCK, Ark.
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Secondhand smoke is a serious health threat and can linger in rooms and even travel between homes in multi-unit housing. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and today Arkansas residents in public housing should be protected by a new smokefree housing rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that goes into effect today.
“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 American Lung Association Health Promotions Specialist Marsha Scullark. “This is especially true for children and those who are more vulnerable to the impact of secondhand smoke, such as those living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Today we’re making a healthier future for Arkansas and our nation.”
In November 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (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 Arkansas, it means protections for 14,985 residents in local public housing agencies (PHAs) such as the 3,593-female head of households with children. In Arkansas, out of 125 public housing authorities, forty-nine currently prohibit the use of tobacco products inside the units and offices. American Lung Association staff has conducted several tenant meetings to discuss the HUD ruling. PHA staff and residents have been able to collaborate on the terms of the updated lease addendums to ensure that individuals who reside and visit the property are protected against secondhand smoke exposure.
“Today we celebrate this important step to protect the health of residents in Arkansas, and we know we’ll see the health benefits for years to come,” said Scullark.
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.
American Lung Association materials and success stories on smokefree housing can be found at Lung.org/smokefreehousing.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about local public housing authorities transition to smokefree, secondhand smoke or lung health, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 470-233-7030.
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 Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.