15,000 RI Families Living in Public Housing Are Now Protected from Secondhand Smoke, Says RI Lung

Monday, July 30, 2018

 

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According to the American Lung Association, a new smokefree housing rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will protect as many as 15,000 RI families who are currently living in public housing communities from secondhand smoke.  

The American Lung Association applauds the new rule issued by the Trump administration, which the health organization says “recognizes the serious health threat posed by secondhand smoke, and its ability to linger in rooms and even travel between homes in multi-unit housing.”

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy life, and ensuring homes are free from the risks of secondhand smoke is a critical step for the health of residents,” said Jeff Seyler, Chief Division Officer of the American Lung Association. “This is especially true for children and those who are more vulnerable to the impact of second smoke, such as those living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Today we’re making a healthier future for Rhode Island and our nation.” 

In November 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a rule requiring all federally-owned public housing to become smokefree by July 30, 2018. This rule will protect close to two million Americans nationwide from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, including 690,000 children.  Rhode Island’s public housing authorities embraced the rule, and reported early adoption, with approximately 95 percent of communities in compliance for over a year.  

“Today we celebrate this important step to protect the health of all residents in Rhode Island public housing authorities, and we know we’ll see the health benefits for years to come,” said Jennifer Wall, Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Rhode Island.  “We hope that this rule will inspire more of Rhode Island’s multi-unit residential buildings and college campuses to go smokefree as well.”

  • Secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 deaths from lung cancer and 33,950 deaths from heart disease each year.
  • Between 1964 and 2014, 2.5 million people died from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a report from the U.S. Surgeon General. The report also concluded that secondhand smoke is a definitive cause of stroke.
  • There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and even short-term exposure potentially can increase the risk of heart attacks.2
  • Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.
  • Secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks; even relatively brief exposure can trigger a heart attack, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine.3
 
 

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