Proposed Change Would Protect 760,000 Children from Secondhand Smoke

Minnesota Already A Leader; Federal Rule Change Would Make All U.S. Public Housing Smoke-free

Nov 13, 2015, 17:43 ET from ClearWay Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a proposed rule change that would prohibit all lit tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars and pipes) in all public housing living units and offices, commons areas and outdoor areas within 25 feet of buildings.

Public Health Benefits:
This is important because across the nation, more than three-quarters of a million of our country's most vulnerable children are subjected to secondhand smoke in public housing facilities. Secondhand smoke is proven to cause more frequent and severe asthma attacks, a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory and ear infections and other health problems in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Minnesota has long been a leader in voluntarily making public housing smoke-free. Already, two-thirds of public housing units in Minnesota are smoke-free. "We strongly support all multiunit housing be smoke-free," said Andrea Mowery, Vice President at ClearWay Minnesota. "If this proposed rule change goes into effect, it would ensure that children, the elderly and other residents of all public housing units in the state would be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke."

Public health advocates around the state have provided smokers living in public housing with free smoking cessation assistance, to help make going smoke-free as smooth as possible. All Minnesotans have access to free quit smoking support through QUITPLAN® Services including free phone coaching, free nicotine replacement therapy and free email and text support.

Local Impact:
You can find out more about smoke-free housing in our area and how it benefits residents and management at www.mnsmokefreehousing.org.

Cost Savings:
Secondhand smoke related illnesses result in $94 million annually in healthcare costs around the country, with many of the costs covered by medical assistance or other government healthcare programs.

Prohibiting smoking in all public housing units nationwide would save nearly $60 million annually in property destroyed by fire and cleaning up smoking related damage to public housing units.

What's Next:
The proposed HUD rule on initiating smoke-free policies in public housing is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register and be posted to www.regulations.gov on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. This publication will start the 60-day comment period, which will end on January 19, 2016. People are encouraged to submit their comments on this proposed rule.  

About ClearWay MinnesotaSM
ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement.

 

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota