Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lung Association study encourages public housing authorities to adopt smoke-free policies

A Colorado study by a research team of the American Lung Association in Colorado titled, "Health and Economic Impacts of No-smoking Policies in Multiunit Housing" has motivated the Colorado Board of Health, the Colorado Tobacco Review Committee and the Office of Health Equity to encourage public housing authorities to adopt policies prohibiting smoking in the buildings they manage. 

A letter inviting Colorado's affordable housing community to reduce exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and produce healthier environments for their residents and employees was mailed this week.

The American Lung Association study included surveys of residents before and after no-smoking policy implementation. The research team found that these policies were associated with:
  • Reduced resident and staff exposure to secondhand smoke 
  • Reduced incidence of acute secondhand smoke associated health issues 
  • Increases in resident quit smoking attempts 
  • Increases in smoking cessation 
  • Reduced daily consumption of cigarettes 

Cindy Liverance, Deputy Director for the local Lung Association said, "Colorado is widely recognized as the nation's most healthy state. By actively encouraging Colorado public housing authorities and other multiunit housing groups to adopt smoke-free policies, the Colorado Board of Health is affirming that recognition."

The Board Of Health letter sent out encouraged all public housing properties to follow the lead of 33 public housing authorities in Colorado that already prohibit smoking in all indoor areas, including individual units, within at least 25’ of all windows, doors, balconies, parking structures and air intake vents, and all outdoor gathering areas such as playgrounds, and common areas.

Interviews with housing managers also found another reason for implementing a no-smoking policy - the savings that could accrue by eliminating the high cost of turning over a smoke damaged unit. Repair costs for heavily smoke-damaged units were found to be between $5,500 to $12,000, versus $500 to $2,500 for a non-smoking unit. The study also found that 58% of resident smokers and 92% of non-smokers supported the no-smoking policy in their building.

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