On July 30, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development passed a rule making all public housing authorities smoke-free. The rule instructs them to implement a smoke-free policy that includes all living units and indoor common areas in public housing and public housing administrative buildings.

This is such an important step in protecting nonsmokers and families from exposure to a serious health hazard where they live. This new rule will protect nearly 2 million Americans across the country, including more than 18,000 Wisconsin residents from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.

HUD’s smoke-free rule will reduce damage and maintenance costs associated with smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HUD’s national smoke-free policy will save public housing agencies $153 million annually.

The CDC estimates cigarette smoking kills 480,000 Americans each year, making it the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. In addition, smoking is the lead cause of fire-related deaths in multifamily buildings.

While the HUD rule does not require people who smoke to quit, it does present them with a great opportunity to give up tobacco for good. Tobacco users who are ready to quit can call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) to receive free help.

The KRW Tobacco-Free Coalition is committed to providing property owners/managers with the help needed to go smoke-free. Property managers/owners interested in free signage or resources should contact me at 262-658-8166 or yazlyn@hopecouncil.org.

For more on the smoke-free HUD rule, visit https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/smokefree.

Yazlyn Perez

Program coordinator, KRW Tobacco-Free Coalition

Kenosha

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