New Jersey Families Living in Public Housing Now Protected from Secondhand Smoke Exposure
American Lung Association to support public housing authorities, public housing residents by sharing expertise, resources and providing quit smoking services
(July 30, 2018) - NEWARK, N.J.
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New Jersey 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 July 30.
“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 now New Jersey 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,” said American Lung Association Chief Mission Officer Deborah P. Brown.
“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 Brown. “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.”
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 New Jersey, it means protections for nearly 55,000 residents in local public housing agencies.
Support from the Amerigroup Foundation has allowed American Lung Association’s smokefree housing resources be disseminated to multi-unit housing properties statewide. An Anthem Foundation Grant is helping provide the Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® (FFS) tobacco cessation program free to public housing residents. FFS clinics and resources are being implemented throughout the state, including the Harrison Housing Authority, Morris County Housing Authority, Elizabeth Housing Authority and Collingswood Housing Authority. Staff will be trained at the Jersey City Housing Authority to implement FFS clinics throughout their properties.
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.
“We’re proud to assist in the implementation of smokefree policies and help smokers quit, when they’re ready, and we know we’ll see the health benefits for years to come,” said Brown. “Today we’re making a healthier future for New Jersey and our nation.”
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 717-971-1123 or 717-503-3903 (cell).
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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