Lebanon Family Health Services Lebanon Family Health Services

Kick Butt this month by breathing easy at home!

On March 16, will recognize National “Kick Butt” Day, a time to recognize the dangers of tobacco use and begin the process of quitting.  In 2009 the state of Pennsylvania joined the rest of the country in adopting indoor air laws, laws that prohibited smoking in many public places.  While no longer being exposed to cigarette smoke has become a cultural norm, many individuals who reside in multi-unit housing such as apartments and condominiums do not receive the same protections.  According to the American Heart Association, 31.5% of all Americans live in multi-unit housing.  Unfortunately, even if they choose to not smoke in their own apartment, they were still exposed to the toxins from the cigarettes of residents in other units as it migrates through the ventilation systems.  Thirty-nine percent of these residents are children.

Exposure to second-hand smoke has dramatic health impacts.  It produces immediate adverse effects on heart function, blood platelets, and the vascular system.  Infants and children are at an increased risk for asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if exposed to second-hand smoke.  Whereas pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke are at a greater risk of giving birth to a baby with a low-birth weight.

Encouraging landlords to adopt smoke-free housing policies has many benefits.  In addition to the health benefits for the residents, research shows that contrary to commonly held belief, there is an economic benefit.  Landlords who have adopted smoke-free policies have found it has reduced their costs by decreasing damage caused by fire.  Furthermore, the renovation of units that permits smoking come at a great cost.  These units require repainting, new carpeting and cleaning of windows, ducts and light fixtures, a significant cost difference from renovating a unit that does not allow smoking.  Just prohibiting smoking in public housing could save taxpayers over $154 million annually according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

So for this year’s “Kick Butt” day, start by not smoking inside your home and then quit the habit for good.  Lebanon Family Health Services offers assistance to multi-unit housing complexes to become tobacco free and also offers Freedom From Smoking© cessation classes on site.  For more information, visit our website at www.lebanonfamilyhealth.org.



James Holtry

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