Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority achieves smoke-free grounds
The American Lung Association in Minnesota, in partnership with Washington County Public Health and Environment through its Living Healthy in Washington County project, commended the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) on successfully implementing a 100 percent smoke-free grounds policy.
Since May 2015, all new and current residents have been signing smoke-free lease addendums. As of June 1, 2016, every tenant in the units within the HRA has signed, making the 100 percent smoke-free grounds policy take full effect.
Thanks to this change, residents in more than 1,075 HRA units in Washington County can now breathe smoke-free air safely in their homes. This new policy means all residents and their guests may not smoke (including electronic cigarettes) anywhere within the building where the resident’s dwelling is located, including within their unit. This includes any of the common areas such as all adjoining grounds, parking areas, green spaces, and outdoor areas of the rental community.
Tobacco is the single greatest cause of disease and early death in the United States. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, about 70 of which are known to cause cancer. An estimated 43,000 deaths per year are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. Children and infants exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory illnesses (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, bronchitis and pneumonia), ear infections, asthma attacks, and decreased cognitive function, in addition to other serious health problems.
Implementing a smoke-free policy also greatly reduces the costs of cleaning units that have been heavily-smoked in, around $3,000. Smoke-free policies reduce fire risks caused by smoking, helping to keep residents safe in their homes.
Living Healthy in Washington County, the American Lung Association, Canvas Health and HRA staff provided resident meetings across Washington County to educate residents on the new policy and provide tobacco cessation information. Smoke-free signage, violation tear-off pads, and ongoing communication with residents, managers, and maintenance staff helped create a successful implementation for everyone.
Living Healthy in Washington County is part of the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Minnesota Department of Health.
Tobacco treatment medication for Minnesotans on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare will be completely free starting Jan. 1, 2016.
Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease. In Minnesota, nearly 5,900 people die every year due to smoking, and it causes nearly $2.5 billion annually in medical costs. This change removes significant barriers for more Minnesotans who want to quit smoking and is expected to save state taxpayers money in the long run by reducing the number of people who smoke – and experience the negative health impacts associated with the habit.
Read more at: http://mn.gov/dhs/media/news/news-detail.jsp?id=252-176818
Minnesota is a leader in efforts to reduce exposure to second hand smoke in businesses, bars and restaurants, yet many residents in multi-unit housing are still being exposed to smoke where they live. With assistance from the American Lung Association, Living Healthy in Washington County is making strides with local apartment owners and managers to eliminate smoke in all their resident units. Read about one success for the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (here).
Join the Movement Against Menthol
Communities are recognizing that they are being targeted by tobacco companies with menthol-flavored tobacco products.
Did you know that menthol masks the real flavor and harshness of tobacco and numbs the throat, which makes using those products easier? However, they are just as dangerous. Join us in spreading the word about the harms of menthol-flavored tobacco. Click on the video link to learn more.
Menthol Community Conversations (video)
Menthol Cigarettes 101 (video)
Freedom from Smoking
Quit Smoking for life! In this seven-week series you will learn how to overcome your tobacco addiction so you can start enjoying the benefits of better health. Classes feature a small group setting in a fun, interactive environment, and includes a workbook and CD. Location: Lakeview Hospital. For registration information and dates visit www.lakeviewhealth.org or 651-430-4510
New E-Cigarette Law
A new e-cigarette law went into effect July 1, as part of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act. The law covers important pieces about who can sell e-cigarettes, who can purchase them, and where they can be used. Please see the link below for more information.
Electronic Cigarettes and the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act
Electronic Cigarette Use
CDC released a brief report in CDC’s MMWR titled “Electronic Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2012
E-cigarette experimentation and recent use doubled among U.S. middle and high school students during 2011–2012, resulting in an estimated 1.78 million students having ever used e-cigarettes as of 2012. Moreover, in 2012, an estimated 160,000 students who reported ever using e-cigarettes had never used conventional cigarettes. This is a serious concern because the overall impact of e-cigarette use on public health remains uncertain. In youths, concerns include the potential negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development (4), as well as the risk for nicotine addiction and initiation of the use of conventional cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol. Depending on the brand, e-cigarette cartridges typically contain nicotine, a component to produce the aerosol (e.g., propylene glycol or glycerol), and flavorings (e.g., fruit, mint, or chocolate) (1). Potentially harmful constituents also have been documented in some e-cigarette cartridges, including irritants, genotoxins, and animal carcinogens (1). E-cigarettes that are not marketed for therapeutic purposes are currently unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and in most states there are no restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Use of e-cigarettes has increased among U.S. adult current and former smokers in recent years (2); however, the extent of use among youths is uncertain.
Read more - http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a6.htm
Smoking in Multi-unit Housing
Secondhand smoke exposure poses serious health threats to children and adults. For residents of multi-unit housing (e.g., apartment buildings and condominiums), secondhand smoke can be a major concern. It can migrate from other units and common areas and travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems.
To learn more read the issue brief: http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/healthy-air/smuh-policy-brief-update.pdf
Spanish version: http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/healthy-air/sfmuh-tc-brief-spanish_11-14-2012.pdf
American Lung Association 2013
More Americans Quit Smoking
An estimated 1.6 million smokers attempted to quit smoking because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Tips From Former Smokers” national ad campaign. According to a study by the CDC, more than 200,000 quit immediately. These results exceed the campaign’s original goals of 500,000 quit attempts and 50,000 successful quits. Visit www.cdc.gov for more information.