The American Lung Association announced a new collaboration with the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., to offer quit-smoking support to residents of public housing in advance of the implementation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) smokefree housing rule. With the support of the Foundation's nearly $900,000 grant, the Smoking Cessation for Low-Income Housing Residents program will give residents access to proven-effective tobacco cessation services through the Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program.
On November 30, 2016, HUD announced that all public housing agencies must implement smokefree policies throughout all residential units and common areas by July 31, 2018. The American Lung Association will work with public housing agencies and other low-income housing providers, as well as additional local partners to provide support for residents who want to quit smoking.
"While this lifesaving rule will protect close to two million Americans living in public housing from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, we also understand that for those residents who smoke, quitting can be difficult," said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "Smoking is an addiction, and we are committed to help public housing residents quit smoking if they're ready to do so."
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 8 to 11 quit attempts before they are smokefree for good.
"Helping remove barriers and providing access to effective quit-smoking methods is essential to help people quit smoking for good," said Dr. Craig Samitt, chief clinical officer at Anthem, Inc. "Through this collaboration with the American Lung Association, we're bringing needed support and resources where people live, and in doing so hope to make it easier for individuals to quit smoking, improve their lung health and prevent tobacco-related illnesses."
The American Lung Association will work with community partners to bring proven-effective smoking cessation services like Freedom From Smoking to 14 states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Freedom From Smoking has helped over one million smokers quit and is offered in person, online and by phone, and includes topics such as building a personalized quit plan, medications that can help people quit, overcoming relapse and staying smokefree for good.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use, proven effective quit smoking methods or tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
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 education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. 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.