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Public Housing Goes Smoke Free: American Lung Association in Virginia to Offer Quit Smoking Support to Residents Who Want to Quit Smoking in the New Year

(December 11, 2017) -

In advance of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) smoke-free housing rule requiring all public housing to be smoke free by July 31, 2018, the American Lung Association in Virginia, with support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, will offer quit smoking support for residents. 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 Virginia’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 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to provide access to free quit smoking counseling and support – which is key to helping individuals overcome smoking addiction, especially those who want to be smoke free in 2018!”

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 part of why it can be so tough to quit smoking. On average, it takes a tobacco user eight to 11 quit attempts before they are smoke free for good.

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and more than 70 percent of smokers want to quit but just don’t know how to start that process,” said Maureen Dempsey, M.D., Anthem’s chief medical officer. “We are proud to team with the American Lung Association to offer quit smoking guidance and support, and support our state’s lung health and help 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 over 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 smoke free for good.

“Through Freedom From Smoking, I had the encouragement and support of a whole movement behind me, a movement that helped break the hold cigarettes had on me,” said Victoria Cassell of Bassett, Virginia. “Step by step and day by day, the program was easy to follow and I was able to go at my own pace. The relaxation exercises and the personal attention of quit smoking counselors made me what I am today: smoke free!”

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 For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association in Virginia’s Communication’s Director Ewa Dworakowski at [email protected] or 717-971-1123.

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