Residents will enjoy cleaner, safer air to breath in their homes.
Starting today, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires all public housing properties to have a smoke-free policy. The rule is a significant step to protect the health of residents, staff, and visitors from secondhand smoke, reduce fire risk and maintenance costs and provide cleaner and safer air.
Minnesota has 117 public housing agencies that manage over 20,000 units with about 26,000 residents. These properties are located across the state in urban, suburban, and rural community settings. Smoke-free policies help address health inequities by protecting some of the most vulnerable people – children, disabled and older adults – and encourage more people to quit smoking.
Young children and older adults are most susceptible to the harms of secondhand smoke, including increased risk of breathing problems and more frequent and severe asthma attacks. Secondhand smoke causes early death and disease in both children and adults who do not smoke. There is no safe level of exposure. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, about 70 of which are known to cause cancer. People in low- and fixed-income groups have a greater risk of secondhand smoke exposure in their homes than those in higher income groups.
This new policy will create smoke-free spaces in living units, indoor common areas and public housing agency offices. The Minnesota Department of Health and local public health departments across the state are working with community partners as their public housing authorities implement the rule to expand smoke-free benefits to all residents. Resources available to public housing managers include one-on-one help, sample materials, signage and quit-smoking materials for residents. Across Minnesota, public health and community partners will have resources ready and available to support residents who want to quit.
Property managers and directors can learn more about HUD’s new rule and get resources at sfpublichousingmn.org.
Minnesota residents who want to quit smoking have free access to quit-smoking tools and resources through QUITPLAN® Services at quitplan.com.
Source: MN Department of Health