Approve proposal to make public housing smoke-free
Recently the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy announced a proposed rule to make the nation’s public housing properties entirely smoke-free. The proposal will enhance the effectiveness of HUD’s efforts to increase public health protection for residents. HUD Secretary Julián Castro says that by protecting residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases, this proposed rule will help improve the health of over 760,000 children and help public housing agencies save $153 million every year in health care, repairs and preventable fires.
In Western New York, residents of Municipal Housing Authority facilities in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lackawanna, Tonawanda and Cambria would benefit. Public comments to the proposed rule are welcome until Jan. 19 at regulations.gov.
Children and nonsmoking tenants deserve to be protected from the dangers of smoke that seeps into apartments from smoking neighbors. Notably, many smokers also prefer to keep their homes smoke-free. Municipal Housing in Lockport, Kenmore and many privately owned multi-unit housing developments are already leading the way with smoke-free policies. They wisely made this decision because 70 percent of renters would rather live in a smoke-free building; smoke-free properties cost less to clean, and retain higher property value; and cigarettes are a leading cause of residential building fires. I hope that the proposed HUD rule will advance the movement toward all multi-unit dwellings becoming smoke-free.
There are many ways to become tobacco-free. Call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) for assistance.
Director, Just Breathe Tobacco
Assessment and Cessation Service
Roswell Park Cancer Institute