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American Lung Association of the Northeast Commends HUD’s Plan to Make Public Housing Smokefree

The American Lung Association in Vermont strongly supports HUD’s rule and stands by to assist public housing authorities that go smokefree.

(November 30, 2016) - WILLISTON, Vt.

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Solomon
[email protected]
(516) 680-8927

The American Lung Association of the Northeast stood with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its announcement today that will require all public housing agencies to go smokefree. This rule will protect two million Americans, across the country, from exposure to secondhand smoke in their homes. This includes those most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke, including 760,000 children and more than 300,000 adults over the age of 62. The policies apply to residential units as well as common areas.

"I was honored to represent the American Lung Association at today's announcement with Secretary Castro in Boston,” said Jeff Seyler, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.  “The Lung Association welcomes this announcement, which ensures new protections for the health of millions of Americans.  Smokefree housing is a win-win – residents breathe better and it costs less to maintain buildings. No matter where you live, home should be a place safe from the risks of secondhand smoke exposure.”

The American Lung Association of the Northeast has worked in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health and local community coalitions to help several public housing authorities, including Burlington and Rutland Housing Authorities, to implement smokefree housing policies. Together, the Lung Association and the state also co-hosted two smokefree housing summits for stakeholders, including housing management and staff.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Across the U.S., more than 41,000 deaths per year and a wide array of damaging health effects are caused or made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma. Asthma has a disproportionate impact on low-income residents living in federally subsidized housing and exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger asthma exacerbations. Children with asthma are especially sensitive to secondhand smoke, and may suffer from more frequent asthma attacks and more and longer hospitalizations as a result.

“Because there’s no effective way to prevent smoke from traveling from one unit to another, the only way to fully protect residents of multi-unit housing from secondhand smoke, is for their building to go 100 percent smokefree,” said Seyler. “To help in this process, the Lung Association stands ready with tools and resources to help public housing authorities go smokefree.”

More than 600 public housing authorities nationwide have already gone smokefree, protecting their residents and reducing the risk of fires and costs to property owners. The Lung Association continues to assist housing authorities, property owners and residents who are acting voluntarily to make their public housing smokefree, and has also created resources to assist property owners and residents, including an online course, fact sheets and policy briefs, which can be found at Lung.org/smokefreehousing.

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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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